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Notre Dame researchers using novel method to combat malaria drug resistance
Date:4/5/2012

of Notre Dame's Genomics and Bioinformatics Core Facility, working with Miller and other members of the Ferdig team was instrumental in developing the gene chip to perform detailed genetic analysis of malaria patient samples. This chip can analyze 7,000 informative "SNPs" (single nucleotide polymorphisms) spaced evenly throughout the parasite genome.

"This gives researchers the ability to 'see' how the genome is changing under drug selection,' Tan said. "This is especially valuable in Southeast Asia because it is a hotspot for anti-malarial drug resistance."

Resistance has been confirmed in Cambodia and is emerging in Thailand. There has been no concerted use of artemisinin in Laos. These conditions enabled researchers to identify genome regions showing signatures of emerging drug resistance. The Texas group then zeroes in on these regions in more than 700 patients to find candidate genes that could be the cause of resistance.

"We now have markers for emerging resistance and new hypotheses that we will use to track down the resistance mechanism," Ferdig said. "Together these will indicate new ways to adjust the use of artemisinin (most notably to modify the combinations of partner drugs) and to regulate the pace of resistance."

Notre Dame's Eck Institute for Global Health is a world-renowned collaborative research program focused on infectious diseases that impact the poor around the world.

"Notre Dame's Strategic Research Initiatives, which led to the establishment of the Eck Institute and the Genomics and Bioinformatics Core Facility, has positioned the University to be a world leader in global health," Bob Bernhard, Notre Dame's vice president for research, said. "The Ferdig Lab's partnership with the Texas Biomedical Research Institute is an illustration of the contributions our talented faculty and students can make in collaboration with other top research programs in the world toward solving the most difficult global challenges."


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Contact: Michael Ferdig
mferdig@nd.edu
574-631-9973
University of Notre Dame
Source:Eurekalert

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