Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New treatment for African sleeping sickness comes closer

Date:
November 5, 2013
Source:
Ume universitet
Summary:
Researchers have identified drugs targeting infections of the parasite Trypanosoma brucei and are thereby well on the way to find a cure against African sleeping sickness.

Researchers at Ume University have identified drugs targeting infections of the parasite Trypanosoma brucei and are thereby well on the way to find a cure against African sleeping sickness. This is the kernel of a thesis, which will be publicly defended on 8 November 2013.

African sleeping sickness (Human African trypanosomiasis) is caused by a parasite called Trypanosoma brucei. As the name of the disease indicates, it is associated with sleep disturbances but there are many other neurological complications as well. Unless the patient is treated, the illness develops in stages and leads eventually to unconsciousness and death. At present, there is no vaccine available and the medicines that exist are either very toxic or do not work effectively against all variants of the disease.

All cells have the potential to renew themselves infinitely through cell division. During cell division, the cell replicates its DNA, which constitutes the individual's genetic material, and then allows the DNA copy to pass on to the daughter cell. During this process, there is a need for a continuous supply of four different building blocks for DNA, i.e. dATP, dCTP, dTTP and dGTP. In human cells, these DNA building blocks can either be produced by the cells themselves, or absorbed in the form of so-called precursor molecules (deoxynucleosides) that are present in the blood and other body fluids.

It has already been observed that the parasite's production of RNA building blocks, which resemble DNA building blocks, could be a target for drug discovery whereas the parasite's production of DNA building blocks has not been studied to the same extent. Munender Vodnala from the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics has therefore focused his study on the cellular machinery involved in the production of DNA building blocks from precursor molecules. This is considered to be a promising target for drug development against the parasite.

The production of DNA building blocks from precursor molecules is made in three stages, so-called phosphorylations. Munender Vodnala has demonstrated that the enzyme adenosine kinase, which is involved in the first production stage, can be used by the parasite to produce dATP from the precursor molecule deoxyadenosine. When the parasite Trypanosoma brucei is cultivated in the presence of large amounts of deoxyadenosine, it produces high levels of dATP compared with mammalian cells. At these levels, dATP becomes toxic to the parasites and they die within just a few hours. Furthermore, Munender Vodnala has managed to identify two modified versions of deoxyadenosine, so-called analogues of deoxyadenosine. These resemble -- but are significantly more effective than -- deoxyadenosine itself in killing off the parasites.

"When we used deoxyadenosine analoues to treat mice that were infected with Trypanosoma brucei, we were able to cure the infections very successfully. These results indicate that we can now move on to develop an effective treatment for African sleeping sickness," explains Munender Vodnala.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ume universitet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ume universitet. "New treatment for African sleeping sickness comes closer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131105194643.htm>.
Ume universitet. (2013, November 5). New treatment for African sleeping sickness comes closer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131105194643.htm
Ume universitet. "New treatment for African sleeping sickness comes closer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131105194643.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins