Novel Anti-Malarial Drug Target IdentifiedPosted: July 23, 2012
The parasitic form of the enzyme (PfG6PD) is what contributes the majority of G6PD activity in infected red blood cells. Because the parasite lives in the blood of a malaria-infected person, the scientists aimed at identifying compounds that inhibit the parasitic form but not the human form of the enzyme. “We didn’t want to interfere with the human form of the enzyme and risk potential side effects,” Bode explains.
Scientific testing had previously been limited by a lack of recombinant PfG6PD. Team members in the lab of Katja Becker, PhD, at the Interdisciplinary Research Center at Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, Germany produced the first complete and functional recombinant PfG6PD, and researchers led by Anthony Pinkerton, PhD, at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute used it to identify the lead compound resulting from their efforts, ML276.
ML276 represents the first reported selective PfG6PD inhibitor, which stops the growth of malaria parasites in cultured red blood cells – even those parasites that developed resistance to currently available drugs. “ML276 is a very promising basis for future drug design of new anti-malarial therapeutics,” says Bode.