Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Pharma Outsourcing
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Malaria Drug Target Raises Hopes for New Treatments

Published: Thursday, December 26, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, December 26, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Scientists identify way to stop malaria parasites from multiplying.

Scientists have taken an important step towards new malaria treatments by identifying a way to stop malaria parasites from multiplying.

In a study published in Nature Chemistry, they show that blocking the activity of an enzyme called NMT in the most common malaria parasite prevents mice from showing symptoms and extends their lifespan. The team are working to design molecules that target NMT more potently, and hope to start clinical trials of potential treatments within four years.

A recent study estimated that 1.2 million people died from malaria in 2010. Although a variety of antimalarial drugs are available, some strains of the parasite are resistant to treatment. These strains are becoming more common, with treatment failures reported across multiple frontline drugs. If acute illness is cured, the parasite can remain dormant in the blood and return to cause illness later. Malaria vaccines have been researched intensively, but none have been introduced into clinical practice.

The new study shows that NMT is involved in a wide range of essential processes in the parasite cell, including the production of proteins that enable malaria to be transmitted between humans and mosquitoes, and proteins that enable malaria to cause long-term infection.

The researchers have tested a handful of molecules that block the activity of NMT in the parasite living inside human red blood cells, and in mice, but further refinement will be needed before a treatment is ready to be tested in humans.

Dr Ed Tate, from the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London, who led the project, said: "The drug situation for malaria is becoming very serious. Resistance is emerging fast and it's going to be a huge problem in the future.

"Finding an enzyme that can be targeted effectively in malaria can be a big challenge. Here, we've shown not only why NMT is essential for a wide range of important processes in the parasite, but also that we can design molecules that stop it from working during infection. It has so many functions that we think blocking it could be effective at preventing long-term disease and transmission, in addition to treating acute malaria. We expect it to work not just on Plasmodium falciparum, the most common malaria parasite, but the other species as well.

"We need to do some more work in the lab to find the best candidate molecule to take into clinical trials, but hopefully we'll be ready to do that within a few years."

The discovery is the culmination of a five-year project by a consortium of researchers from Imperial College London, the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, the University of Nottingham, the University of York, and Pfizer, funded by the Medical Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Gene Therapy for Cystic Fibrosis Shows Encouraging Trial Results
A therapy that replaces the faulty gene responsible for cystic fibrosis in patients' lungs has produced encouraging results in a major UK trial.
Friday, July 03, 2015
Alcoholic Hepatitis Treatments Fail to Keep Patients Alive
The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Friday, May 01, 2015
Study Finds Potential New Target to Treat Asthma Attacks Brought on by Colds
Results suggest that IL-25 could be a target for possible treatments to prevent asthma attacks.
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
First Gene Therapy Trial Launched for Heart Patients with Mechanical Pumps
Patient received new gene therapy at Harefield Hospital, London.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Stem Cells Show Promise for Stroke in Pilot Study
Findings are published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.
Saturday, August 09, 2014
Statins Slow the Progression of Advanced MS in Clinical Trial
The work is published in the Lancet.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Statins Slow the Progression of Advanced MS in Clinical Trial
The work is published in the Lancet.
Friday, March 21, 2014
New Drug Treatment Reduces Chronic Pain Following Shingles
New drug EMA401 reduce pain and did not cause any serious side effects.
Friday, February 07, 2014
Badgers Ultimately Responsible for Around Half of TB in Cattle, Study Estimates
The findings are published in the journal PLOS Currents: Outbreaks.
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Multi-drug Pills Help People Stick to Heart Disease Prevention Regimens
Findings are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Friday, September 27, 2013
£73m Powerhouse of Biomedical Research Opens at Imperial College London
Designed to expand and accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Programme Gets Green Light with Public Funding
Gene therapy trial for CF to begin in March.
Friday, March 16, 2012
One-a-day Heart Polypill to be Tested in new International Trial
Researchers to explore whether a new, low cost, one-a-day combined 'polypill' could reduce the risk of heart attacks and related problems.
Monday, May 17, 2010
University Research Contributes £45 Billion a Year to the UK Economy, According to new Impact Study
A new economic impact assessment of university research suggests that the £3.5 billion a year currently spent on publicly funded research generates an additional annual output of £45 billion in UK companies.
Monday, March 15, 2010
HIV Vaccine Failure Probably Caused By Virus Used, Says New Research
Researchers say, failure was probably caused by the immune system reacting to the virus 'shell' used to transmit the therapy around the body.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Scientific News
Lucentis Effective for Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy
NIH-funded clinical trial marks first major advance in therapy in 40 years.
Blocking the Transmission Of Malaria Parasites
Vaccine candidate administered for the first time in humans in a phase I clinical trial led by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, with partners Imaxio and GSK.
First Therapy Appearing to Reverse Decline in Parkinson’s
An FDA-approved drug for leukemia improved cognition, motor skills and non-motor function in patients with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia in a small clinical trial, say researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC).
Gene Therapy Staves Off Blindness from Retinitis Pigmentosa in Canine Model
NIH-funded study suggests therapeutic window may extend to later-stage disease.
Treatment for Rare Bleeding Disorder is Effective
Researchers in Manchester have demonstrated for the first time the relative safety and effectiveness of treatment, eltrombopag, in children with persistent or chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), as part of an international duo of studies.
HIV Vaccine Human Trials Begin
Baltimore-based Institute has begun enrolling volunteers for initial phase 1 clinical trials.
New Therapy Reduces Symptoms of Inherited Enzyme Deficiency
A phase three clinical trial of a new enzyme replacement medication, sebelipase alfa, showed a reduction in multiple disease-related symptoms in children and adults with lysosomal acid lipase deficiency, an inherited enzyme deficiency that can result in scarring of the liver and high cholesterol.
Fixing Holes in the Heart Without Invasive Surgery
UV-light enabled catheter is a medical device which represents a major shift in how cardiac defects are repaired.
Atriva Therapeutics GmbH Develops Innovative Flu Drug
Highly effective against seasonal and pandemic influenza.
Study Removes Cancer Doubt for Multiple Sclerosis Drug
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London are calling on the medical community to reconsider developing a known drug to treat people with relapsing Multiple sclerosis after new evidence shows it does not increase the risk of cancer as previously thought.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos