Study begins to determine why malaria effects some more than others

A collaborative effort between two Sydney, Australia-based universities and one university in the United Kingdom is determined to find out why some people with malaria develop severe symptoms with a high risk of death.
The study will be conducted by Professor Alistair Craig from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine at Professor George Grau's laboratory at the University of Sydney and at the ithree Institute headed by Professor Ian Charles, Australian Life Scientist reports.
“Malaria infection kills and affects millions of people worldwide, with the greatest share of this impact on countries that can ill afford the costs associated with treatment," Charles said, according to Australian Life Scientist. “The reasons for this are complex, but are thought to involve the ability of human red blood cells, infected with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, to bind to cells lining the small blood vessels in the human host. This can lead to vessel blockage, which was thought at one time to be the only mechanism of disease but further work has shown that this interaction is an active process, inducing a range of responses in the human host, some protective but some causing disease."
The researchers plan to use the Microbial Imaging Facility's state-of-the-art DeltaVision, managed by Dr. Lynne Turnbull and Associate Professor Cynthia Whitchurch.
“The project will look at changes at the sub-cellular level when different host cells and malaria parasites are brought into contact with each other, in order to identify the critical pathways contributing to disease," Charles said, Australian Life Scientist reports. “By understanding these, the research will provide a better idea how severe illness is caused and can help design new therapies that target these pathways whilst leaving the normal protective mechanisms unaffected.”
The work is funded by OzEMalar, the Australia-Europe Malaria Research Collaboration.