Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Malaria drug target raises hopes for new treatments

Date:
December 22, 2013
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
Scientists have taken an important step towards new malaria treatments by identifying a way to stop malaria parasites from multiplying.

Scientists have taken an important step towards new malaria treatments by identifying a way to stop malaria parasites from multiplying.

In a study published in Nature Chemistry, they show that blocking the activity of an enzyme called NMT in the most common malaria parasite prevents mice from showing symptoms and extends their lifespan. The team are working to design molecules that target NMT more potently, and hope to start clinical trials of potential treatments within four years.

A recent study estimated that 1.2 million people died from malaria in 2010. Although a variety of antimalarial drugs are available, some strains of the parasite are resistant to treatment. These strains are becoming more common, with treatment failures reported across multiple frontline drugs. If acute illness is cured, the parasite can remain dormant in the blood and return to cause illness later. Malaria vaccines have been researched intensively, but none have been introduced into clinical practice.

The new study shows that NMT is involved in a wide range of essential processes in the parasite cell, including the production of proteins that enable malaria to be transmitted between humans and mosquitoes, and proteins that enable malaria to cause long-term infection.

The researchers have tested a handful of molecules that block the activity of NMT in the parasite living inside human red blood cells, and in mice, but further refinement will be needed before a treatment is ready to be tested in humans.

Dr Ed Tate, from the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London, who led the project, said: "The drug situation for malaria is becoming very serious. Resistance is emerging fast and it's going to be a huge problem in the future.

"Finding an enzyme that can be targeted effectively in malaria can be a big challenge. Here, we've shown not only why NMT is essential for a wide range of important processes in the parasite, but also that we can design molecules that stop it from working during infection. It has so many functions that we think blocking it could be effective at preventing long-term disease and transmission, in addition to treating acute malaria. We expect it to work not just on Plasmodium falciparum, the most common malaria parasite, but the other species as well.

"We need to do some more work in the lab to find the best candidate molecule to take into clinical trials, but hopefully we'll be ready to do that within a few years."

The discovery is the culmination of a five-year project by a consortium of researchers from Imperial College London, the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, the University of Nottingham, the University of York, and Pfizer, funded by the Medical Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Megan H. Wright, Barbara Clough, Mark D. Rackham, Kaveri Rangachari, James A. Brannigan, Munira Grainger, David K. Moss, Andrew R. Bottrill, William P. Heal, Malgorzata Broncel, Remigiusz A. Serwa, Declan Brady, David J. Mann, Robin J. Leatherbarrow, Rita Tewari, Anthony J. Wilkinson, Anthony A. Holder, Edward W. Tate. Validation of N-myristoyltransferase as an antimalarial drug target using an integrated chemical biology approach. Nature Chemistry, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1830

Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "Malaria drug target raises hopes for new treatments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131222160053.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2013, December 22). Malaria drug target raises hopes for new treatments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131222160053.htm
Imperial College London. "Malaria drug target raises hopes for new treatments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131222160053.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) As a third American missionary is confirmed to have contracted Ebola in Liberia, doctors on the ground in West Africa fear they're losing the battle against the outbreak. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) When Facebook acquired the virtual reality hardware developer Oculus VR in March for $2 billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hailed the firm's technology as "a new communication platform." Duration: 02:24 Video provided by AFP
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