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Compound might defeat African sleeping sickness, clinical trial beginning this month

occurs in villages where it can devastate afflicted populations, he said. Small villages do not have access to clinics or trained staff that can give injections or administer drugs intravenously.

"Immtech International, Inc. of Vernon Hills, Ill., a pharmaceutical company and a contributor to this drug development effort, has an exclusive, worldwide license to DB289 and related compounds developed by the UNC-based scientific consortium for African sleeping sickness and other devastating diseases such as TB, which together affect millions of people annually," Tidwell said. "Besides DB289, several potential drug candidates in early development appear to be promising for treating late stage African sleeping sickness, which occurs when the parasite over time enters the brain."

The new drug candidates are active because they can cross the blood-brain barrier, a biological wall that protects the nervous system naturally but can block beneficial drugs, he said. Work is also progressing rapidly on a new drug for drug-resistant malaria, another major threat in developing countries.

The UNC-led Consortium to Develop New Drugs for Protozoan Diseases established an advisory board chaired by Dr. Frederick Sparling at UNC, with Drs. Terry Shapiro at Johns Hopkins University, Ann Moore at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Thomas Brewer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as board members. Laboratories involved in the discovery of the new drug candidates are run by internationally known scientists including Drs. David Boykin and David Wilson at Georgia State University, Michael Barrett at the University of Glasgow, Raymond Mdachi at Kenya Trypanosomiasis Research Institute and Steven Meshnick and J. Ed Hall of UNC. Scientists also closely involved are Drs. Simon Croft at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Reto Brun and Christian Burri at the Swiss Tropical Institute.

"New drugs for illnesses in developing
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Source:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


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