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

New Hope for Treating Sleeping Sickness

by Sheela Philomena on January 26, 2012 at 10:15 AM
Font : A-A+

 New Hope for Treating Sleeping Sickness

Researchers have used a revolutionary technique to find how human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) drugs target the parasite which causes the disease. This finding could pave way for better treatments.

The findings, published in Nature, are based on the simultaneous analysis of thousands of genes and the action of the five drugs effective against HAT, also known as sleeping sickness. The research was a collaboration between LSHTM, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge and was funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Advertisement

The disease usually fatal if left untreated - is caused by a parasite called Trypanosoma brucei, which is transmitted by the tsetse fly and attacks the central nervous system. Although treatment is available, until now there has been little understanding of how and why the drugs are particularly effective against African trypanosomes and therefore limited scope to tackle resistance when it arises. In particular, an arsenic-based drug called melarsoprol is increasingly ineffective and has the added problem of severe toxicity in patients; it is only because HAT is such a lethal disease that this drug is still in use.

Employing a process of specific gene disruption that prevents the parasite from producing its signature proteins, and targeting one gene in each cell (the parasite is unicellular), the scientists identified which modifications resulted in drug resistance. This implied that the original gene was essential for the drug to work. The technique, called RNA interference target sequencing (RIT-seq), depends upon technology developed by scientists at LSHTM over several years and a high-throughput DNA sequencing approach developed in collaboration with researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
Advertisement

The team screened the entire T. brucei genome of 7,500 genes and found a total of 50 genes, and therefore 50 proteins, that are linked to drug action and resistance. With this information, the group analysed the biological processes those proteins are involved in and deduced how the drugs interact with the parasite.

Lead researcher Dr David Horn, Reader in Molecular Biology at LSHTM, said: "We now know a lot more about how these drugs work. This new understanding of how these medications kill parasites, or fail to kill parasites, could lead to the development of tests that guide the intervention strategy as well as more active and safer intervention options. What is important now is to begin the process of translating the new findings into clinical advances such as new diagnostics and therapies."

Source: Eurekalert
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
Black Pepper as Preventive Measure Against Omicron
FODMAP Diet: A Beginner's Guide
Smallpox
View all

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

More News on:
Insomnia Sleeping Scale 

Recommended Reading
Trypanosomiasis
Sleeping sickness or Trypanosomiasis is a vector-borne parasitic disease which can trigger ......
Link Between Climate Shift and Sleeping Sickness
Sleeping sickness or African trypanosomiasis could threaten more people as the tsetse fly transmits ...
Sleeping Sickness Drug may Provide Protection Against Skin Cancer
DFMO, or a-difluoromethylornithine - an antiparasitic agent used to treat African sleeping sickness ...
New Test to Diagnose Sleeping Sickness
New way of diagnosing Trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sickness) has been designed by researchers....
Insomnia
Difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep is known as insomnia. It is a symptom that occurs due...

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 - 2022

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