News & Views
Are Single Dose Treatments for Malaria Feasible?
Jun 15 2021
Funding of £2.4 million has been awarded to scientists at the University of Dundee for identifying compounds that could lead to a single dose treatment for malaria.
“There is an urgent need for the development of new medicines to treat this terrible disease, due to the parasites that cause malaria becoming resistant to current drugs.” - Professor Kevin Read
The major grant, awarded by the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund will support a team at the University’s Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) with development of a compound series that inhibits an enzyme involved in protein synthesis.
Partnership with Medicines for Malaria Venture
Lead Professor Ian Gilbert, Professor Kevin Read and Dr Beatriz Baragaña have been working with Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), on a way to kill the malaria parasite by stopping it from making its own proteins. Eisai, one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical companies is also collaborating in the project.
Professor Gilbert said, “We are very grateful for the funding from the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund to allow us to further progress this series of compounds. This work will continue to be carried out in collaboration with MMV. We are also very pleased to partner with Eisai, with their huge experience of developing new medicines, which will greatly facilitate the development of this compound series.”
Malaria remains a major threat to life; caused by parasites transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. The World Health Organisation estimated that there were 229 million cases of malaria worldwide, resulting in more than 400,000 deaths, in 2019.
Professor Kevin Read said, “There is an urgent need for the development of new medicines to treat this terrible disease, due to the parasites that cause malaria becoming resistant to current drugs. There is also a need for new medicines to prevent people developing malaria in the first place and to prevent the spread of this disease.”
Dr Baragaña added, “We have had a very fruitful collaboration with MMV over many years and we are very excited to be collaborating with Eisai, with their expertise in developing new medicines.”
“This award to Dundee’s Drug Discovery Unit is extremely well deserved. The team have spearheaded several cutting-edge malaria research projects, this one included,” said Dr Jeremy Burrows, MMV’s Head of Drug Discovery.
“This project draws on structure-based drug design enabling us to optimize the potency and selectivity of the compounds. The grant will help us further this work aimed at ultimately identifying a promising candidate for further development.”
Information on Medicines for Malaria Venture here
Further information online
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