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University of South Florida and Draper team to create advanced devices for testing malaria drugs
Date:2/8/2011

Tampa, FL (Feb. 8, 2011) -- The University of South Florida received $5.45 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The first grant is to create advanced devices that mimic the human liver to better study the life cycle of the malaria parasite particularly the elusive liver stage where the disease may be most vulnerable to attack. Such human models could help accelerate the discovery of new drugs or even vaccines for Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum, the two most common forms of malaria becoming increasingly resistant to today's therapies. The second grant is to provide effective therapeutics to prevent and cure malaria by developing long-term continuous culture system for P. vivax

USF will collaborate with Draper Laboratory on the projects. The dynamic public-private partnership combines the USF Global Infectious Disease Research team's expertise in malaria parasite biology and human model development with Draper's extensive experience in tissue engineering and the development of human mimetic in vitro (laboratory) models.

"We cannot eliminate one of the most prevalent causes of malaria in the world Plasmodium vivax unless we come up with new drugs or vaccines that target the dormant liver forms of the parasite," said Dennis Kyle, Ph.D., professor of global health at the USF College of Public Health. "Current tools-- in vitro and animal models are either largely ineffective or cost-prohibitive in predicting which drugs may work best in humans. New human models are the basic building blocks needed to establish strong, credible drug and vaccine discovery programs, not only at USF but at other universities and companies working on new ways to fight malaria."

Dr. Kyle is the principal investigator for a three-year Gates Foundation grant seeking to develop human liver models that could more quickly and accurately test potential drug candidates for vivax and falciparum malaria. Draper Laboratory's effor
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Contact: Anne DeLotto Baier
abaier@health.usf.edu
813-974-3300
University of South Florida (USF Health)
Source:Eurekalert  

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University of South Florida and Draper team to create advanced devices for testing malaria drugs
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