Cancer drugs may treat malaria parasites

Cancer drugs may treat malaria parasites
Cancer drugs may treat malaria parasites | Courtesy of
Researchers recently published the details of a study that suggests cancer drugs may successfully treat the parasites that cause malaria.

“With the use of cancer drugs, which target the infected liver cell instead of the parasite directly, we minimize the risk of promoting drug resistance,” Seattle BioMed's Alexis Kaushansky said.

This new discovery is good news for regions affected by malaria as well as regions affected by drug-resistant illnesses.

“Drugs are very expensive to make,” Kaushansky said. “There are many next-generation cancer drugs that have already progressed in development. These are drugs which target specific molecules, and thus are not subject to the side effects associated with classical cancer therapy. The funding put into malaria research cannot compete with the resources available for cancer. Thus, cancer drugs that have already gone through development and have proven to be safe in humans are a great resource to combat other diseases.”

More details can be found in the most recent issue of molecular therapy under the title “Host-based Prophylaxis Successfully Targets Liver Stage Malaria Parasites.”

“In developing countries, treatment for malaria costs around one quarter of a family’s income,” Kaushansky said. “It is not possible for many affected people to afford treatment, especially for multiple relapses. Our approach combines cutting-edge drug discovery with the perspective that interventions against disease must consider people first and foremost. We need drugs that will not cause drug-resistant malaria and will be effective in the long run, for people worldwide.”

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