Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Treatment target identified for public health risk parasite

Date:
November 26, 2013
Source:
McGill University Health Centre
Summary:
In the developing world, Cryptosporidium parvum has long been the scourge of freshwater. Its rapid ability to spread, combined with an incredible resilience to water decontamination techniques, such as chlorination, led the National Institutes of Health in the United Sates to add C. parvum to its list of public bioterrorism agents. Currently, there are no reliable treatments for cryptosporidiosis, but that may be about to change with the identification of a target molecule.

Dr. Momar Ndao in his lab.
Credit: McGill University Health Centre

In the developing world, Cryptosporidium parvum has long been the scourge of freshwater. A decade ago, it announced its presence in the United States, infecting over 400,000 people -- the largest waterborne-disease outbreak in the county's history. Its rapid ability to spread, combined with an incredible resilience to water decontamination techniques, such as chlorination, led the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United Sates to add C. parvum to its list of public bioterrorism agents. Currently, there are no reliable treatments for cryptosporidiosis, the disease caused by C. parvum, but that may be about to change with the identification of a target molecule by investigators at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC).

Related Articles


"In the young, the elderly and immunocompromised people such as people infected with HIV/Aids, C. parvum is a very dangerous pathogen. Cryptosporidiosis is potentially life-threatening and can result in diarrhea, malnutrition and muscle loss and body mass wasting," says first author of this new study, Dr. Momar Ndao who is Director of the National Reference Centre of Parasitology (NRCP) at the MUHC and an Assistant Professor of the Departments of Medicine, Immunology and Parasitology at McGill University.

The oocysts of C. parvum, which are shed during the infectious stage, are protected from a thick wall that allows them to survive for long periods outside the body as they spread to a new host. C. parvum is a microscopic parasite that lives in the intestinal tract of humans and many other mammals. It is transmitted through the fecal-oral contact with an infected person or animal, or from the ingestion of contaminated water or food. Since the parasite is resistant to chlorine and difficult to filter, cryptosporidiosis epidemics are hard to prevent.

"Most protozoan (single-celled) parasites like C. parvum use enzymes called proteases to escape the body's immune defenses," explained Dr. Ndao, who is also a researcher in the Infection and Immunity Axis of the RI-MUHC. "In this study, we were able to identify a protease inhibitor that can block the parasite's ability to circumvent the immune system, and hide in intestinal cells called enterocytes, in order to multiply and destroy the intestinal flora."

The discovery, which was made in collaboration with US researchers, is the first time a molecular target has been found for the control of C. parvum. "The next step will be to conduct human clinical trials to develop an effective treatment for this parasite, which affects millions of people around the world," concludes Dr. Ndao.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University Health Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Ndao, M. Nath-Chowdhury, M. Sajid, V. Marcus, S. T. Mashiyama, J. Sakanari, E. Chow, Z. Mackey, K. M. Land, M. P. Jacobson, C. Kalyanaraman, J. H. McKerrow, M. J. Arrowood, C. R. Caffrey. A Cysteine Protease Inhibitor Rescues Mice from a Lethal Cryptosporidium parvum Infection. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 2013; 57 (12): 6063 DOI: 10.1128/AAC.00734-13

Cite This Page:

McGill University Health Centre. "Treatment target identified for public health risk parasite." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131126134719.htm>.
McGill University Health Centre. (2013, November 26). Treatment target identified for public health risk parasite. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131126134719.htm
McGill University Health Centre. "Treatment target identified for public health risk parasite." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131126134719.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — Bupa is hoping to expand in India&apos;s fast-growing health insurance market, once a rule change on foreign investment is implemented. The British private healthcare group&apos;s CEO tells Grace Pascoe why it&apos;s so keen on the new opportunity. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — Mobile apps are turning smartphones into a personal doctors, with users able to measure heart rate, blood pressure and even blood sugar. But will it change our behaviour? Ivor Bennett reports from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) — AbbVie announced Wednesday it will buy cancer drugmaker Pharmacyclics in a $21 billion deal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) — Researchers found adults only get the flu about once every five years. Scientists analyzed how a person&apos;s immunity builds up over time as well. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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