Navigation Links
Researchers discover surprising drug that blocks malaria

Northwestern University researchers have discovered how malaria parasites persuade red blood cells to engulf them -- and how to block the invading parasites. The malaria marauders hack into the red cell's signaling system and steal the molecular equivalent of its password to spring open the door to the cell. But researchers have found that a common blood pressure medication ?propranolol ?jams the signal to prevent the parasite from breaking in.

Scientists had long been perplexed by malaria's ability to hijack red blood cells, then wildly multiply and provoke its life-threatening symptoms.

"This opens the possibility for important new drugs for malaria that won't become resistant. New drugs are urgently needed because the parasite has evolved resistance against virtually all types of commonly used drugs," said Kasturi Haldar, principal investigator for the study and the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor in the department of pathology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern. Sean Murphy, a Medical Sciences Training Program student, is the study's lead author.

The study was published in PLoS Medicine.

Malaria, one of the top three deadliest diseases in the developing world, is resurging worldwide because of drug resistance and the lack of an effective vaccine, Haldar said. Jamaica recently reported an outbreak of malaria after it had been eradicated in that country for 50 years.

A blood-borne illness, malaria is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The symptoms include high fevers and flu-like symptoms such as chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. The disease kills an estimated 2 million people a year, mostly African children under five. It also poses a risk to travelers. An estimated 500 million cases of malaria were expected in 2006.

Commonly used drugs against malaria attack the parasite, but it rapidly changes its molecular structure to become resistant to those drugs. It would be difficult, however, for the malaria parasite to develop resistance to a drug that acts on a person's red blood cells as the blood pressure medication does, Haldar said.

When Haldar and her colleagues tested propranolol in combination with existing anti-malarial drugs in human cell cultures and mice, it reduced the dose of the anti-malarial drugs needed to kill the parasites by tenfold. That's significant because high doses of anti-malarial drugs ?increasingly necessary as resistance to them builds -- can be toxic. In addition, blood pressure medication like propranolol is cheap and safe for use even in pregnant women, a group particularly vulnerable to malaria.

"We're working on developing a unique drug that would combine anti-malarial drugs with blood pressure medication. We think it has a high likelihood of success," Haldar said. The next step is human clinical trials.


Source:Northwestern University

Related biology news :

1. Researchers discover way to make cells in the eye sensitive to light
2. Researchers find how protein allows insects to detect and respond to pheromones
3. Researchers Uncover Key Step In Manufacture of Memory Protein
4. Researchers reveal the infectious impact of salmon farms on wild salmon
5. Researchers identify target for cancer drugs
6. Researchers discover molecule that causes secondary stroke
7. Researchers find missing genes of ancient organism
8. Researchers trace evolution to relatively simple genetic changes
9. Researchers add new tool to tumor-treatment arsenal
10. UF Researchers Map Bacterial Proteins That Cause Tooth Loss
11. VCU Researchers Identify Networks Of Genes Responding To Alcohol In The Brain
Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016   Acuant ... and verification solutions, has partnered with RightCrowd ... solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks and ... products that add functional enhancements to existing ... corporations and venues with an automated ID ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... June 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, a ... solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring ... involved, it has secured the final acceptance by ... for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus ... to be installed by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... -- Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction ... to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control ... ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Rolf K. ... the faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ... entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s international efforts, leading ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and fluorometers use the ... models are higher end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension of 20mm. ... the bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed several Agilent flow ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or ... of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for ... as WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, ... medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEW YORK , June, 23, 2016  The ... students to envision new ways to harness living systems ... of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York ... more than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s ... included Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: