Navigation Links
Parasite investigations breed 3 Tall Poppies
Date:9/23/2010

Three researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia, who are investigating different aspects of parasite biology have tonight been named Young Tall Poppies by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science.

Dr Justin Boddey, Dr Erinna Lee and Dr Chris Tonkin were among nine Young Tall Poppies from Victoria. Dr Tonkin was named Victorian Young Tall Poppy of the Year, receiving $5000.

Dr Tonkin is investigating how the Apicomplexan group of parasites invade human cells. In particular, he is interested in exposing the molecular mechanisms that activate cell invasion when these parasites come into contact with a human cell. This knowledge could reveal targets against which drugs can be developed to prevent parasite invasion.

"Apicomplexan parasites are a huge burden on humanity," Dr Tonkin said. "On one hand Toxoplasma gondii, the most abundant of all human parasites, infects between 30-80 per cent of the population and can cause congenital birth defects, spontaneous abortion and disease in people whose immune systems are compromised. Plasmodium falciparum, on the other hand is the cause of the most lethal form of malaria, infecting about 200 million people a year and killing about three million."

Dr Boddey is also trying to find ways to stop the malaria parasite. "Malaria involves large-scale infection of the blood stream after a bite from an infected mosquito," he said.

"The key to this disease is the parasite's ability to renovate red blood cells so that it can live inside them and hide from immune defenses. The parasite does this by delivering hundreds of specialised renovating proteins into red blood cells to transform them into diseased cells."

Dr Boddey's research has determined how the malaria parasite delivers these hundreds of renovating proteins into red blood cells and identified a single parasite protein that controls the process - a gatekeeper. "This gatekeeper protein is not present in humans and we are now developing a new drug that blocks it so that parasites can no longer modify the red blood cells they infect and, consequently, die," Dr Boddey said.

Death of a different kind is the subject of Dr Erinna Lee's research. Dr Lee is interested in apoptosis, the process by which damaged cells self-destruct.

Apoptosis is regulated by the pro-survival and pro-death proteins of the Bcl-2 family. "Dysfunctional apoptosis results in cancer, which arises when damaged cells fail to die and proliferate uncontrollably," Dr Lee said. "A class of anti-cancer drugs called BH3-mimetics have been developed that target the pro-survival proteins, triggering death."

Dr Lee is seeking to understand exactly how one BH3-mimetic, ABT-737, is successfully causing cell death.

In addition to her work on BH3-mimetics as anti-cancer therapeutics, Dr Lee recently discovered a number of Bcl-2 relatives in schistosomes, the parasites that cause schistosomiasis.

"Our preliminary studies show that ABT-737 binds the schistosome pro-survival protein. The next step is to establish the Bcl-2 family members essential for parasite survival, and provide proof-of-principle that targeting this pathway is a feasible anti-infective strategy."


'/>"/>

Contact: Penny Fannin
fannin@wehi.edu.au
61-393-452-345
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Scientists uncover process enabling toxoplasmosis parasite to survive homelessness
2. Discovery offers hope of saving sub-Saharan crops from devastating parasites
3. New research shows how disease-causing parasite gets around human innate immunity
4. Cancer drugs may help stop major parasite
5. New parasite could be late summer beach pest
6. Immune evasion common in many viruses, bacteria and parasites is uncommon in M. tuberculosis
7. Lake sturgeon have genes from parasite, signs of human STD
8. Scientists sever molecular signals that prolific parasite uses to puppeteer cells
9. Penn researchers identify immune cells that fight parasites may promote allergies and asthma
10. UCR researcher identifies mechanism malaria parasite uses to spread among red blood cells
11. NTU researchers complete the worlds first in-depth study of the malaria parasite genome
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Parasite investigations breed 3 Tall Poppies
(Date:4/3/2017)... 3, 2017  Data captured by IsoCode, ... detected a statistically significant association between the ... treatment and objective response of cancer patients ... predict whether cancer patients will respond to ... well as to improve both pre-infusion potency testing ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... 29, 2017  higi, the health IT company that ... North America , today announced a Series B ... of EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s ... to transform population health activities through the collection and ... higi collects and secures data today on behalf ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... Mar 24, 2017 Research and Markets has ... Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report ... ... at a CAGR of around 15.1% over the next decade to ... report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for all the given ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... Personal eye wash is a basic first ... eye at a time. So which eye do you rinse first if a dangerous substance ... Plum Duo Eye Wash with its unique dual eye piece. , “Whether its ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc ., a ... Webinar titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ready?” with Dr. Nicolas ... practices and how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes an increase in diagnostic ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. 11, 2017 ... London (ICR) and University of ... prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma (MM), in ... nine . The University of Leeds ... by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the testing services ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... TX (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... August compared the implantation and pregnancy rates in frozen and fresh in ... contribution of progesterone and maternal age to IVF success. , After comparing the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: