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New Consortium to Develop Drugs for Neglected Tropical Diseases
Date:8/17/2009

LEIDEN, The Netherlands, August 17 /PRNewswire/ -- A new consortium has been formed to boost drug development for the treatment of two deadly diseases, African sleeping sickness and Leishmaniasis, which affect millions of people worldwide. A total budget of nearly 3.6 million euros has been allocated over the next 4 years, to develop effective drugs for these diseases. The consortium includes IOTA Pharmaceuticals, Mercachem, Nycomed, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, the Royal Tropical Institute, the University of Bern, the VU University Amsterdam and TI Pharma.

Rob Leurs (VU University Amsterdam), the project's principal investigator, comments: "African sleeping sickness and Leishmaniasis are diseases caused by parasites. Both diseases are prominent on the World Health Organization's list of neglected tropical diseases for which no effective medication is available." The new consortium will target parasite-specific phosphodiesterase to develop and screen drug candidates for clinical evaluation and the treatment of both diseases. Leurs continues: "This new project combines the knowledge and experience of leading European laboratories and promises to make a major contribution to the treatment of neglected tropical diseases."

African sleeping sickness

Recent WHO estimates indicate that approximately 60 million people are at risk of contracting the African sleeping sickness (also called human African trypanosomiasis) with an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 new cases occurring each year. The disease appears in 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and is endemic in south-east Uganda and western Kenya, killing more than 40,000 Africans each year. The African sleeping sickness parasite, most commonly Trypanosoma brucei, is transmitted to humans by tsetse fly bites.

Leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis is found in many tropical and sub-tropical countries, in settings as dive
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SOURCE TI Pharma
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