MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Innovative tools to fight parasite cryptosporidium

Innovative tools to fight Cryptosporidium
Innovative tools to fight Cryptosporidium | Courtesy of
A team of scientists from the University of Georgia recently created innovative tools to understand and genetically manipulate a microscopic parasite known as cryptosporidium, which causes a diarrheal disease called cryptosporidiosis.

These tools will assist scientists in industry and academia in discovering new vaccines and treatments for cryptosporidium, best known as the main cause of death and disease in children younger than 2, the university said.

"One of the biggest obstacles with crypto is it is very difficult to study in the lab, and that has made scientists and funders shy away from studying the parasite," said Boris Striepen, co-author of the paper and distinguished research professor of cellular biology in UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "We think the techniques reported in this paper will open the doors for discovery in crypto research, and will, in turn, lead to new and urgently needed therapeutics."

"There are enormous libraries of chemicals available now, and some of these chemicals may work as a treatment for crypto, and this technology will help us find them much more rapidly."

Striepen also is a member of UGA's Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases.

"Now that we have overcome these initial hurdles, we have a great opportunity to move forward much faster," he said. "There is need, there is opportunity and now there is technical ability, so I think we may have reached a turning point in the fight against this disease."

"Drug treatments are important, but finding a way to prevent the disease in the first place would be the most effective way to deal with an early childhood disease," said Sumiti Vinayak, lead author of the paper and assistant research scientist in Striepen's lab.

Further details are available in the journal Nature.

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University of Georgia

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