About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Drug to Treat Brain Disease Tested By Canada And Uganda

by Rukmani Krishna on May 4, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Font : A-A+

 Drug to Treat Brain Disease Tested By Canada And Uganda

Canada is funding testing in Uganda of a popular off-patent antidepressant drug. It is used to fight a fungal brain disease that claims more than half a million lives in sub-Saharan Africa every year.

Sertraline, better known as Zoloft or Lustral, was first introduced by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in 1991. It has since become the second-most prescribed antidepressant in the United States.

Advertisement

But recent lab work at the University of Utah found that the drug also has a potent fungicidal effect, with several women taking it to alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome reporting it also cleared up their yeast infections.

With Canadian backing, researchers at Uganda's Infectious Disease Institute at Makerere University now hope to show that it can be used to stem early deaths from cryptococcal meningitis -- an infection of the tissue covering the brain that claims 600,000 lives in sub-Saharan Africa annually.
Advertisement

"We're hoping to teach an old drug new tricks," lead researcher David Meya told AFP in a telephone interview from Uganda Tuesday.

"Our hope is that if this drug works against cryptococcal meningitis, we can cut mortality rates by 40 to 50 percent, which would be a huge leap."

More than 30 percent of patients die within 10 weeks of onset of the disease, which has been linked to AIDS.

Currently, it is being treated with one of two drugs: flucytosine and amphotericin. Both were developed in the 1950s and are "very expensive and not widely available in sub-Saharan Africa," Meya said.

A third drug, fluconazole, has also been tried but is less effective, he added.

"So if we discover another drug that is more effective against cryptococcal meningitis and is cheaper, we can substantially bring down mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa."

Developing and testing a new drug from scratch typically takes seven to 10 years. Repurposing a drug already on the market in this case is expected to take only four years, Meya said.

"We already know this drug's safety profile. We just need to do a clinical trial to see how effective varying amounts of the drug are at treating a new disease," he noted.

Furthermore, since drug patents for sertraline are now expired, it would be possible for generic drug makers to produce and sell it more cheaply.

The Canadian government is helping Meya's team with $100,000 (US$99,364) in seed funding through a program called Grand Challenges Canada.

It is one of more than 100 grants to innovators in 13 developing nations and in Canada "to pursue bold, creative ideas for tackling health problems," according to a statement.

The funds -- $10.9 million in total -- are to be spent on trying out remote diagnostics and monitoring, health protection, as well as drug and vaccine development and accessibility.

Other projects include a vaccine for smokers against nicotine's addictive effect; a glucose meter cell phone attachment for diabetics and a cheap instant test strip to diagnose deadly diseases like dengue and Ebola.

Source: AFP
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Effect of Blood Group Type on COVID-19 Risk and Severity
Woman with Rare Spinal Cord Defect from Birth Sues Doctor
Toothache
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Drug Toxicity Parkinsons Disease Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Signature Drug Toxicity Brain Brain Facts Ataxia Language Areas in The Brain Ways to Improve your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) Naegleriasis (Brain-Eating Amoeba Infection) 

Recommended Reading
Brain Exercises to Improve Memory
An active brain can certainly help in improving memory by strengthening the connections between ......
Head Injury
Head injury or traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of disability among children and young ......
Depression
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders affecting approximately 340 million people in ...
Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting memory and thinking and ......
Ataxia
Ataxia affects coordination. Gait becomes unstable and the patient loses balance. The cerebellum or ...
Drug Toxicity
Drug toxicity is an adverse reaction of the body towards a drug that results as a side effect of a d...
Language Areas in The Brain
The mechanism of how human brain processes the language to express and comprehend the verbal, writte...
Naegleriasis (Brain-Eating Amoeba Infection)
Naegleriasis or Brain-Eating Amoeba Infection is a rare fatal brain infection caused by amoeba commo...
Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by progressive dopamine brain cells loss. ...
Ways to Improve your Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
Intelligence quotient (IQ) is a psychological measure of human intelligence. Regular physical and me...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use