Project title: Developing bioreductive prodrugs to treat parasitic diseases
Summary: The protozoan parasites Trypanosoma brucei, Trypanosoma cruzi & 20+ Leishmania species are responsible for the medically important infections human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), Chagas disease & leishmaniasis, respectively. The economic burden associated with these insect transmitted diseases has had a major impact on the public health & socio-economic development of many poor rural communities of the world, effectively trapping sufferers & their families in a disease/poverty cycle. Worryingly, alternative modes of transmission alongside population migration, leisure/recreational activities & global warming has resulted in these diseases emerging as a problem across the globe. Currently, drugs represent the only treatment option against these parasites although the use of these therapies is controversial. The aim of my project is to investigate the biological role of bacterial-like oxidoreductases expressed by Trypanosoma &/or Leishmania species focusing on unusual nitroreductase activities, then exploit these to activate chemical structures that may have potential to be developed into new prodrugs targeting HAT, Chagas disease &/or leishmaniasis.
- Dr Shane Wilkinson