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article imageSearching for a new way to halt malaria

By Tim Sandle     Jan 1, 2014 in Science
A research team have identified a way to stop malaria parasites from multiplying. It is hoped that this could become the basis of a new treatment.
The trials undertaken so far have been in mice. Scientists have shown that blocking the activity of an enzyme called NMT in the most common malaria parasite prevents mice from showing symptoms and extends their lifespan.
The protein is an important target because NMT is involved in a wide range of essential processes in the parasite cell, including the production of proteins that enable malaria to be transmitted between humans and mosquitoes, and proteins that enable malaria to cause long-term infection.
Malaria is caused by a single-celled parasite belonging to genus Plasmodium, is transmitted, by mosquitoes, in areas in over one hundred countries risking about 3.3 billion people. Mosquitoes spread the parasite to humans through their bites; the parasite then travels to the liver, where it matures and reproduces in forms that infect the red cells and cause clinical symptoms.
The findings have been published in the journal Nature Chemistry. The paper is titled “Validation of N-myristoyltransferase as an antimalarial drug target using an integrated chemical biology approach”.
More about Malaria, Mosquito, Mosquitoes, Parasite, Protein
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