South Florida team develops new model for antimalarial drug screening
The researchers showed new chemogenic profiling that can be used to find drug targets for the deadliest strain of malaria, known as Plasmodium falciparum. This is important because the parasite has grown more and more resistant to artemisinin, the drug that is used for front-line treatment when fighting the virus. The resistance has grown even when artemisinin is used with other antimalarial drugs.
"That represents six new targets potentially as effective as artemisinin for killing the malaria parasite," Dennis Kyle, a distinguished USF health professor and co-senior author of the study, said. "There is definitely a sense of urgency for discovering new antimalarial drugs that may replace artemisinin, or work better with artemisinin, to prevent or delay drug resistance."
The researchers received funds from the National Institutes of Health to further their study.
"That interdisciplinary collaboration is where the power of this work comes to light," Kyle said. "It helps us develop the tools, the molecular techniques we need to rapidly mine huge amounts of data, and to discover new drug targets in ways not previously feasible."