Navigation Links
Young malaria parasites refuse to take their medicine, may explain emerging drug resistance
Date:2/19/2013

New research has revealed that immature malaria parasites are more resistant to treatment with key antimalarial drugs than older parasites, a finding that could lead to more effective treatments for a disease that kills one person every minute and is developing resistance to drugs at an alarming rate.

University of Melbourne researchers have shown for the first time that malaria parasites (Plasmodium falciparum)in the early stages of development are more than 100 times less sensitive to artemisinin-based drugs, which currently represent a last line of defense against malaria.

The study was conducted by a team led by Professor Leann Tilley and Dr Nectarios (Nick) Klonis from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Bio21 Institute, and is published in the journal PNAS.

The drug artemisinin (ART) saves millions of lives each year but it is still not clear exactly how it works. Professor Tilley's team developed a novel approach to examine how the parasite responds to drugs under the conditions it encounters in the body. This is important because the malaria parasite takes two days to reach maturity in each cycle but the drug only remains in the bloodstream for a few hours.

"We were surprised to find that juvenile parasites were up to 100 times less sensitive to the drug than mature parasites, and that in some strains the juvenile parasites showed a particularly high degree of resistance. This would result in a large number of juvenile parasites surviving against clinical treatment and helps explain how resistance to drugs develops," Professor Tilley said.

In order to survive in the human body, the parasite must inhabit red blood cells for part of its life cycle, to do this it first digests the cell contents including the haemoglobin protein which carries oxygen in blood.

"We found that the parasite is most susceptible to drug treatment when it is digesting haemoglobin, suggesting that a breakdown product, possibly the haemoglobin pigment, is activating ART to unleash its killing properties," Dr Klonis said.

The possibility of lower drug sensitivity of juvenile parasites was first suspected when the team studied the parasite's digestive system using a revolutionary 3D imaging technique called electron tomography at the Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne. This initial work was supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coherent X-ray Science.

"In juvenile stages the parasite's digestive system is not yet active, which explains how this stage can avoid the effects of the drug," Professor Tilley said.

"We hope that our findings will provide a guide for changing the timing of the drug treatment regime and developing longer lasting drugs, thereby killing more of the parasites and reducing the development of drug resistance."

The next steps for the team are to try and establish why certain strains are more resistant to ART drug attack than others.

"With the current political will in malaria-affected countries to combat the disease, and funding for implementation of anti-malarial strategies available from the NHMRC, Gates Foundation and other donors, the basic research being done in Australia will be quickly translated into lives saved in the field," added Professor Tilley.


'/>"/>

Contact: Nerissa Hannink
nhannink@unimelb.edu.au
61-430-588-055
University of Melbourne
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Experimental gene therapy treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy offers hope for youngster
2. Joslin scientists find first human iPSC from patients with maturity onset diabetes of the young
3. Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences awarded to Rosbash, Hall and Young
4. Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation grants prestigious awards to 17 young scientists
5. Giant tobacco plants that stay young forever
6. Strength training improves vascular function in young black men
7. Young Investigator Award winners announced by Anatomy Society
8. Dr. Sanjay Kumar wins STEM CELLS Young Investigator Award
9. New programs draws young artists into science
10. Young gamers offer insight to teaching new physicians robotic surgery
11. Omega-3 intake heightens working memory in healthy young adults
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Young malaria parasites refuse to take their medicine, may explain emerging drug resistance
(Date:4/13/2017)... UBM,s Advanced Design and Manufacturing event in ... and evolving technology through its 3D Printing and Smart ... the expo portion of the event and feature a ... on trending topics within 3D printing and smart manufacturing. ... will take place June 13-15, 2017 at the Jacob K. ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ) ... appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards ... Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief Executive ... their guidance and benefiting from their considerable expertise as we ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... , April 4, 2017   EyeLock LLC ... announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office ... broadly covers the linking of an iris image with ... transaction) and represents the company,s 45 th issued ... patent is very timely given the multi-modal biometric capabilities ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/18/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... September 18, 2017 , ... ... has announced the move of the SPIE Digital Library ( http://www.spiedigitallibrary.org ) on ... SPIE to create an improved user experience and incorporate a number of enhancements ...
(Date:9/17/2017)... , ... September 17, 2017 , ... ... the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (KMFDS) for an Investigational ... against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The study in Korea represents ...
(Date:9/14/2017)... , ... September 14, 2017 , ... ... minds in pharma and biotech at the third annual DrugDev Summit, November 7-8, ... brings together the world’s most progressive clinical research leaders for best practice case ...
(Date:9/14/2017)... , ... September 14, 2017 , ... ... Freedom Lumbar Disc case in Australia. Dr. Steven Yang completed the procedure on ... a result of a degenerative lumbar disc at level L5-S1. The patient failed ...
Breaking Biology Technology: