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Treatment target identified for a public health risk parasite
Date:11/26/2013

tinal tract of humans and many other mammals. It is transmitted through the fecal-oral contact with an infected person or animal, or from the ingestion of contaminated water or food. Since the parasite is resistant to chlorine and difficult to filter, cryptosporidiosis epidemics are hard to prevent.

"Most protozoan (single-celled) parasites like C. parvum use enzymes called proteases to escape the body's immune defenses," explained Dr. Ndao, who is also a researcher in the Infection and Immunity Axis of the RI-MUHC. "In this study, we were able to identify a protease inhibitor that can block the parasite's ability to circumvent the immune system, and hide in intestinal cells called enterocytes, in order to multiply and destroy the intestinal flora."

The discovery, which was made in collaboration with US researchers, is the first time a molecular target has been found for the control of C. parvum. "The next step will be to conduct human clinical trials to develop an effective treatment for this parasite, which affects millions of people around the world," concludes Dr. Ndao.


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Contact: Julie Robert
julie.robert@muhc.mcgill.ca
514-934-1934 x71381
McGill University Health Centre
Source:Eurekalert  

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