Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cancer-fighting drugs might also stop malaria early

Date:
August 25, 2014
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
Scientists searching for new drugs for malaria have identified a number of compounds -- some of which are in clinical trials to treat cancer -- that could lead to new ways to fight the disease. Researchers identified 31 enzyme-blocking molecules, called protein kinase inhibitors, that curb malaria before symptoms start. By focusing on treatments that act early, the researchers hope to give drug-resistant strains less time to spread.

Scientists searching for new drugs to fight malaria have identified a number of compounds -- some of which are currently in clinical trials to treat cancer -- that could add to the anti-malarial arsenal.

Related Articles


Duke University assistant professor Emily Derbyshire and colleagues identified more than 30 enzyme-blocking molecules, called protein kinase inhibitors, that curb malaria before symptoms start.

By focusing on treatments that act early, before a person is infected and feels sick, the researchers hope to give malaria -- especially drug-resistant strains -- less time to spread.

The findings appear online and are scheduled to appear in a forthcoming issue of the journal ChemBioChem.

Malaria is caused by a single-celled parasite called Plasmodium that spreads from person to person through mosquito bites. When an infected mosquito bites, parasites in the mosquito's saliva first make their way to the victim's liver, where they silently grow and multiply into thousands of new parasites before invading red blood cells -- the stage of the disease that triggers malaria's characteristic fevers, headaches, chills and sweats.

Most efforts to find safe, effective, low-cost drugs for malaria have focused on the later stage of the infection when symptoms are the worst. But Derbyshire and her team are testing chemical compounds in the lab to see if they can identify ones that inhibit malaria during the short window when the parasite is still restricted to the liver, before symptoms start.

One of the advantages of her team's approach is that focusing on the liver stage of the malaria lifecycle -- before it has a chance to multiply -- means there are fewer parasites to kill.

Using a strain of malaria that primarily infects rodents, Derbyshire and Jon Clardy of Harvard Medical School tested 1,358 compounds for their ability to keep parasites in the liver in check, both in test tubes and in mice.

"It used to be that researchers were lucky if they could identify one or two promising compounds at a time; now with advances in high-throughput screening technology we can explore thousands at once and identify many more," said Derbyshire, an assistant professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke.

Focusing on a particular group of enzyme-blocking compounds called protein kinase inhibitors, they identified 31 compounds that inhibit malaria growth without harming the host. Several of the compounds are currently in clinical trials to treat cancers like leukemia and myeloma.

The same compounds that stopped the stage of malaria that lurks in the liver also worked against the stage that lives in the blood.

Malaria-free mice that received a single dose before being bitten by infected mosquitos were able to avoid developing the disease altogether.

Medicines for malaria have been around for hundreds of years, yet the disease still afflicts more than 200 million people and claims hundreds of thousands of lives each year, particularly in Asia and Africa. Part of the reason is malaria's ability to evade attack. One of the most deadly forms of the parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, has already started to outsmart the world's most effective antimalarial drug, artemisinin, in much of southeast Asia. Infections that used to clear up in a single day of treatment now take several days.

Diversifying the antimalarial arsenal could also extend the lifespan of existing drugs, since relying less heavily on our most commonly used weapons gives the parasite fewer opportunities to develop resistance, Derbyshire said.

Another advantage is that the compounds they tested suppress multiple malaria proteins at once, which makes it harder for the parasites to develop ways around them.

"That makes them like a magic bullet," she said.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Emily R. Derbyshire, Vanessa Zuzarte-Luνs, Andreia D. Magalhγes, Nobutaka Kato, Paul C. Sanschagrin, Jinhua Wang, Wenjun Zhou, Chandrasekhar V. Miduturu, Ralph Mazitschek, Piotr Sliz, Maria M. Mota, Nathanael S. Gray, Jon Clardy. Chemical Interrogation of the Malaria Kinome. ChemBioChem, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/cbic.201400025

Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Cancer-fighting drugs might also stop malaria early." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140825185840.htm>.
Duke University. (2014, August 25). Cancer-fighting drugs might also stop malaria early. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140825185840.htm
Duke University. "Cancer-fighting drugs might also stop malaria early." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140825185840.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) — The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
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