Researchers find new malaria treatment
Fiona Brinkman, 778.782.5646; email@example.com
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017; Marianne_Meadahl@sfu.ca
An international team of researchers including members of Simon Fraser University molecular scientist Fiona Brinkman’s lab has discovered a new class of drugs for treatment of particularly severe malaria.
“This new therapy works in conjunction with anti-malarial drugs, essentially dampening down the damaging inflammation that the immune system produces - acting as a novel anti-inflammatory,” says Fiona Brinkman, a professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.
“As with many infections, what can cause fatality is actually our immune system becoming too damaging, rather than the infectious microbe directly causing damage.”
Brinkman says the new therapy can significantly reduce fatalities in severe malaria, providing new hope for radically improved treatment of the serious illness.
Recent SFU post-doc David Lynn of Brinkman’s lab led the SFU research component. His bioinformatics work entailed advanced computer-based analyses of genes to work out how to better use a preclinical screen to establish the value of this new class of anti-inflammatory drug.
Malaria is a serious global health problem with an estimated 1.2 million dying from the disease annually. Imported cases into developed countries are rising and survivors of severe malaria can face long term debilitating neurological and physical effects.
Fatality rates for severe malaria are high because anti-malarial drugs act against the malaria parasite without alleviating life-threatening inflammation.