One protein inhibitor could treat Chagas, leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness

Tsetse fly from Burkina Faso--Courtesy of IAEA CC BY-SA 4.0

Wellcome Trust-backed scientists have found a compound that treats three neglected parasitic diseases in mice: leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and sleeping sickness.

The trio of diseases affects millions of people in Latin America, Asia and Africa, yet current treatments are limited and have a number of side effects. The Wellcome-funded team from the Novartis Research Foundation’s Genomics Institute (GNF) focused on the genetic and biological similarities between the “kinetoplastids,” single-celled parasites that cause the diseases.

Because of these similarities, the researchers sought a compound that would be effective against all three diseases. After testing more than 3 million chemicals, they landed on a compound dubbed GNF6702, which destroyed the parasites in mice and did not harm human cells in lab tests, according to a statement. The drug works by selectively inhibiting a protein complex inside kinetoplastids called the proteasome. It does not harm the mice as it does not inhibit the mammalian proteasome.

Infographic Download

Reducing Time to Clinic for Your Biomedical Applications

Gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA)-based biomaterials have been widely used in various biomedical research applications due to their suitable biological properties and tunable physical characteristics. Especially over the past 5 years, GelMA-oriented research and patent applications have been growing exponentially, and many of these research concepts are now being translated towards the clinic. Suitable GelMA biomaterials are therefore indispensable to keep pace with the newest medical innovations.

Download to learn more about the benefits of GelMA in various biomedical applications and how X-Pure® GelMA can help you in your developments.

"We found that these parasites harbour a common weakness,” said GNF’s Frantisek Supek, a research investigator and senior author, in the statement. "We hope to exploit this weakness to discover and develop a single class of drugs for all three diseases."

Because the compound did not cause adverse effects in mice, the team is hopeful that it may have fewer side effects in humans than current drugs. GNF6702 is now being tested for toxicity before it can be advanced to human studies.

There are limited treatments for the diseases, including the use of antiparasitic treatment against Chagas, which can cause side effects including peripheral neuropathy, insomnia, vertigo, and anorexia and weight loss. As for sleeping sickness, it is important to diagnose and treat the disease early, before it reaches the neurological stage and the blood-brain barrier comes into play.

- here's the statement
- see the abstract

Related Articles:
KaloBios emerges from bankruptcy, raises $14M in recap
FDA approves Impavido to treat tropical disease leishmaniasis


Suggested Articles

Spinal Elements, maker of a wide range of implants and products for minimally invasive spine procedures, has filed a $100 million IPO.

United Airlines will begin providing COVID-19 screening tests for passengers, allowing those who test negative to skip local quarantine requirements.

Galecto picked up $64 million to push its lead lung disease treatment toward an approval in Europe and fund midstage studies for its other programs.