Thursday, February 19, 2009

Medicine for Malaria Treats Toxoplasmosis

“A new drug that will soon enter clinical trials for treatment of malaria also appears to be 10 times more effective than the key medicine in the current treatment for toxoplasmosis.”

This drug is called JPC-2056, and the University of Chicago Medical Center found that this anti-malarial medicine is also extremely effective against Toxoplasma gondii, the causative agent of toxoplasmosis. This drug has the potential to be more effective and less toxic than the current treatment; in fact, it was able to reduce the number of parasites in mice in just a matter of days.

It works by “inhibit[ing] the action of an enzyme DHFR, produced by the family of parasites that includes those that cause toxoplasmosis and malaria.” The drug is strong against this enzyme in malaria and Toxoplasma, but its effect is much less on the human DHFR.

Tests even showed that JPC-2056 was effective against parasites with multiple mutations, suggesting that resistance will not be developed easily. Until more tests can be done, researchers and doctors see this medicine as having “considerable promise” for the future (or lack thereof) of toxoplasmosis.

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