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Saint Louis U scientists partner on malaria research
Date:2/18/2011

ST. LOUIS -- The Center for World Health & Medicine at Saint Louis University and China's Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health (GIBH) are forming a global research partnership that initially will focus on new treatments for malaria.

The organizations are not only connected by a shared commitment to fight a devastating disease, but their key leaders are former Pfizer Inc. drug discovery scientists who formerly worked together in Chesterfield, Mo.

GIBH is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a premier government scientific research organization in China, which is similar to the U.S. National Science Foundation. Its chief technology officer and vice president of research, Micky Tortorella, has held the position for more than a year after leaving Pfizer.

The Center for World Health & Medicine began with a dozen scientists at Saint Louis University in July, with a goal of turning basic science research into drugs that combat diseases and medical problems that largely afflict the developing world.

"This is the first step in setting up an international network of collaboration fueled by scientists with expertise in drug discovery. This alliance gives us a global expertise, and provides a real opportunity to succeed, in terms of developing safe, effective and affordable new drugs," said Peter Ruminski, executive director of the Center for World Health & Medicine.

"Malaria is becoming increasingly resistant to current treatments. We need new classes of drugs to attack this deadly disease, which kills between one and three million people a year. We think it is important for there to be multiple therapeutic options for treating malaria, as there are for HIV or for bacterial infections, and this partnership will add significantly to efforts aimed at achieving that goal."

Tortorella said there is a real need for novel approaches to treat malaria, which is a devastating problem in China and in other parts
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Contact: Nancy Solomon
solomonn@slu.edu
314-977-8017
Saint Louis University
Source:Eurekalert

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