Anti-cancer drugs may help curb malaria too
A new study has revealed that a search for new drugs to fight malaria has identified a number of compounds, some of which are currently under to treat cancer.
Researcher Emily Derbyshire and her colleagues from Duke University have identified more than 30 enzyme-blocking molecules, called protein kinase inhibitors, that curb malaria before symptoms start and 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 researchers said that 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.
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 and the same compounds that stopped the stage of malaria that lurks in the liver also worked against the stage that lives in the blood.
The findings showed that malaria-free mice that received a single dose before being bitten by infected mosquitos were able to avoid developing the disease altogether.
The study was published in the journal ChemBioChem.
(Posted on 26-08-2014)