As part of a multicenter study, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a series of chemical compounds that might serve as starting points for the identification of new classes of anti-malarial drugs.
“Malaria remains one of the most globally significant infectious diseases that we face,” said Dr. Margaret Phillips, professor of pharmacology at UT Southwestern and one of the senior authors of the study, which appears in the May 20 issue of Nature. Malaria affects about 40 percent of the world’s population and kills about a million people a year, she said. The parasite that causes the disease is spread by mosquito bites.
Drugs are the mainstay of malaria treatment, yet the malaria parasite is notorious for developing drug resistance, which compromises current chemotherapy.
“Novel chemical compounds with anti-malarial activity represent a potent tool in the process of developing new drugs to treat this disease,” Dr. Phillips said.