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  • Potential Treatment for Neglected Disease Uncovered

Potential Treatment for Neglected Disease Uncovered

Aug 16 2018 Read 941 Times

A close collaboration between the University of Dundee, GSK and Wellcome has led to the discovery* of a new preclinical candidate drug with the potential to treat visceral leishmaniasis, one of the world’s major neglected diseases.

The disease, which is caused by a parasite and spread through the bite of infected sandflies, kills tens of thousands of people every year, mainly among the poorest in the world, typically causing fever, weight loss and anaemia.

Professor Paul Wyatt, Head of the Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) at the University of Dundee, said, “We have established that this compound works through a novel mode of action, principally through inhibition of an enzyme called CRK12. This is a significant step forward in our goal to develop new, oral and safer drugs to tackle a disease which kills tens of thousands of people every year. The compound still has some way to go before it can be used to treat patients, but we are excited by the great progress that we have made.”

Pauline Williams, SVP and Head, Global Health R&D at GSK, said, “The scientists at GSK’s Diseases of the Developing World Unit and the University of Dundee’s Drug Discovery Unit have been sharing their respective expertise since 2011 to tackle a major unmet need in the field of neglected tropical diseases."

Diana Tay, from Wellcome’s Innovation team, said, “This potential treatment is in pre-clinical stages of research, but could be used to treat those with the most severe form of leishmaniasis, which, untreated, kills 95% of people affected. This is one of a number of neglected tropical diseases – diseases which hit the world’s poorest communities hardest and for which innovation is vital to deliver new, affordable ways to save and protect lives from these devastating diseases.”

*Research published in Nature

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