Researchers at the College of Life Sciences have identified fexinidazole as a possible, much-needed, new treatment for the parasitic disease visceral leishmaniasis.
Leishmaniasis is named after William Leishman, a Glasgwegian doctor serving with the British Army in India, who first identified the parasite in the early 1900s. The disease is the second biggest killer in Africa, Asia and Latin America after malaria, and affects 500,000 people, killing about 50-60,000 patients per year. Current drug treatments for the disease are unsatisfactory for reasons such as high cost, drug resistance or the need for hospitalisation.
Fexinidazole is already in phase 1 clinical trials for a related disease -- African sleeping sickness -- but a research team at Dundee including Dr Susan Wyllie, Professor Alan Fairlamb and colleagues has identified it as having potential in treating leishmaniasis.
Their research has been published by the journal Science Translational Medicine and was funded by the Wellcome Trust.
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