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VITBIOMAL


Vitamin biosynthesis as a target for antimalarial therapy
EC contribution
: € 1.000.000
Duration
: 24 months
Starting date
: 01/06/2005
Funding scheme
: Specific Targeted Research Project
Keywords
: malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, vitamin biosynthesis, vitamin B6, drug, target, antimalarial drug development
Contract/Grant agreement number
: LSHP-CT-2005-012158

Background:

Plasmodium falciparum infections pose a tremendous burden on global health, which is becoming increasingly aggravated by the worrying rise in P. falciparum drug resistance making the discovery of novel intervention strategies imperative. In line with this, the objective of this project is to explore the inhibition of a recently identified parasite vitamin biosynthesis pathway as a therapeutic strategy and to assess its potential as drug target (1). The absence of vitamin biosynthesis in humans suggests that specific targeting of the respective parasite pathways is feasible, as it has already been successfully proven for folate metabolism. VITBIOMAL focuses on vitamin B6 biosynthesis, as this important nutrient is required as a co-factor for a wide variety of essential metabolic functions in protein and amino acid metabolism and also has been implicated in the defence against oxidative stress in other eukaryotes.

Problem:

With 300-500 million clinical cases and 1-3 million deaths a year, malaria is one of the most fatal tropical diseases. As current therapeutics become increasingly ineffective and a clinically available protective vaccine is not in sight, there is an urgent need to develop and pursue new therapeutic strategies.

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