Creating a new weapon in the fight against malaria

May 8, 2012

Over 200 million people contract malaria each year, and according to the World Health Organization, an estimated 655,000 people died from malaria in 2010.

Malaria is caused by the parasite Plasmodium, which is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. More effective control of malaria will require the development of to prevent new infections.

Wesley Van Voorhis at the University of Washington in Seattle and Oliver Billker at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, England assembled an international research team to tackle the challenge of finding new ways to combat malaria.

Their unique approach was to uncover a pathway that could block transmission of Plasmodium from humans to mosquitos, which represents a new strategy for controlling the spread of malaria.

They discovered a new class of malaria transmission-blocking compounds that work by inhibiting a protein known as bumped kinase I. Bumped kinase I is required for Plasmodium to transition to sporozoites stage, the stage in its life cycle when it is infectious to mammals. In that fed on blood treated with the bumped kinase inhibitor, Plasmodium sporozoite formation was blocked.

The research team showed preclinical data in mice indicating that bumped kinase inhibitors are safe and well tolerated.

Their results show that bumped kinase inhibitors target a new life cycle stage in Plasmodium, and suggest that these compounds merit further development as a new therapy for .

Explore further: Protein plays key role in transmitting deadly malaria parasite

More information: www.jci.org/articles/view/61822?key=bd73a892f008d6fa9cae

Related Stories

Slamming the brakes on the malaria life cycle

February 23, 2012

Scientists have discovered a new target in their fight against the devastating global disease 'malaria' thanks to the discovery of a new protein involved in the parasite's life cycle.

Recommended for you

Basic research fuels advanced discovery

August 26, 2016

Clinical trials and translational medicine have certainly given people hope and rapid pathways to cures for some of mankind's most troublesome diseases, but now is not the time to overlook the power of basic research, says ...

New avenue for understanding cause of common diseases

August 25, 2016

A ground-breaking Auckland study could lead to discoveries about many common diseases such as diabetes, cancer and dementia. The new finding could also illuminate the broader role of the enigmatic mitochondria in human development.

New method creates endless supply of kidney precursor cells

August 25, 2016

Salk Institute scientists have discovered the holy grail of endless youthfulness—at least when it comes to one type of human kidney precursor cell. Previous attempts to maintain cultures of the so-called nephron progenitor ...

Strict diet combats rare progeria aging disorders

August 25, 2016

Mice with a severe aging disease live three times longer if they eat thirty percent less. Moreover, they age much healthier than mice that eat as much as they want. These are findings of a joint study being published today ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.