The number of cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), one of the common parasitic infection caused by Leishmania, increased dramatically in Syria and adjacent countries due to the conflict-related displacement of Syrians.
A study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
by Rana El Hajj at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon describes the development of a novel immunomodulatory analog that may be an effective treatment of CL.
‘Patients suffering from cutaneous leishmaniasis would benefit more from using the advanced immunomodulatory based therapy.’
Currently used therapies against CL may lead to the partial or complete cure. However, they associate with many limitations, including repetitive painful injections, lack of availability, expensive cost, and the emergence of resistant strains. Furthermore, their efficacy remains hindered by the patient's age and immune system.
Researchers investigated the pre-clinical efficacy of an immunomodulatory drug, Imiquimod and one of its analogs, EAPB0503 on two strains (Leishmania major and Leishmania tropica) causing CL in the Middle East Area.
They also tested these drugs on freshly isolated parasites from patients' biopsies and proved their leishmanicidal potency.
According to the authors, "Our findings establish Imiquimod as a strong candidate for treating L. tropica and show the higher potency of its analog EAPB0503 against CL". Their research is a promising advancement for the development of effective therapies for CL.