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Malaria Research Begins To Bite

October 21, 2010

Scientists at The University of Nottingham and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute near Cambridge have pin-pointed the 72 molecular switches that control the three key stages in the life cycle of the malaria parasite and have discovered that over a third of these switches can be disrupted in some way.

Their research which has been funded by Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council (MRC) is a significant breakthrough in the search for cheap and effective vaccines and drugs to stop the transmission of a disease which kills up to a million children a year.

Until now little has been known about the cellular processes involved in the development of this deadly disease. The research, published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, involved the very first comprehensive functional analysis of protein kinases in any malaria parasite. It is also the largest gene knock-out study in Plasmodium berghei “” a malaria parasite infecting rodents.

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