Potential cure for Chagas disease

October 25, 2012
Murdoch research finds Chagas cure
Chagas disease is spread through bites from insects such as Rhodnius prolixus - the "kissing bug". Credit: Wikipedia

A Murdoch University international collaborative project has found a potential cure for the deadly Chagas disease.

Chagas affects eight to 10 million people in Latin American countries, with about 20,000 deaths attributed to the disease each year.

Professor Andrew Thompson from Murdoch's School of Veterinary and Biological Sciences led the parasite component of the study, which has stemmed from 25 years of research on parasite infections in humans.

" can affect a number of organs including the heart and intestine causing or affecting the heart or digestive system that may last for decades," Professor Thompson said.

"We have developed a new compound that cures Chagas disease in our mouse model of the disease; the next step is human trials."

Professor Thompson, in partnership with Australian drug research company Epichem, is investigating infections caused by trypanosome parasites, which cause a range of diseases in developing countries, including Chagas disease, sleeping sickness, and leishmaniasis.

The diseases are transmitted by different species of biting insects, and are increasingly present in Australia through migration of people and pets, exposure to defence force personnel and tourists and the emergence of similar diseases in .

"These diseases cause devastating illness and death in people," Professor Thompson said.

"There are few, if any drugs available that can cure these diseases, and in many cases the of the drugs are sometimes worse than the diseases they treat.

"There is clearly a desperate need for new, effective, non- to treat and cure these diseases."

The Murdoch-Epichem partnership was initiated after international aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres contacted Professor Thompson after reading about his research online and suggested Murdoch might be an ideal candidate for funding from Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) in Geneva, a non-profit agency directing funds from aid agencies and foundations for research on neglected diseases.

"We applied to DNDi for funding and were successful, and have received financial support from DNDi for the last six years, including recent substantial funding from an ARC Linkage grant with DNDi as the partner organisation," Professor Thompson said.

"The research has led to sustained, fruitful collaboration with Epichem, as well as more recently with the Centre for Drug Optimisation at Monash University who are key collaborators on the latest Linkage grant."

Explore further: 300,000 people in U.S. living with Chagas disease: report

Related Stories

300,000 people in U.S. living with Chagas disease: report

July 5, 2012
(HealthDay) -- As many as 300,000 people in the United States may have chronic Chagas disease -- mostly spread by blood-sucking insects -- health officials report.

Researchers closing in on safe treatment for parasitic diseases

July 8, 2011
With the help of another $2 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, researchers are moving closer to setting up human clinical trials for a reformulated drug that could be the linchpin of treatment efforts ...

Old drug shows new promise to treat leishmaniasis

February 2, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- A study published yesterday shows that a drug called fexinidazole could potentially be used to treat visceral leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease that kills 50 000 to 60 000 people a year in Africa, ...

Recommended for you

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

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.