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Latest Plasmodium Stories

2012-02-23 18:00:54

Scientists have discovered a new target in their fight against the devastating global disease 'malaria' thanks to the discovery of a new protein involved in the parasite's life cycle. The research has uncovered a vital player in the sexual phase of the malaria parasite's reproduction which could prove an effective target for new treatments to stop the disease in its tracks. The scientists from The University of Nottingham's School of Biology, with collaborators from the Universities of...

2012-02-22 10:21:54

In this week's PLoS Medicine, Michael Delves of Imperial College London, UK and colleagues compare the activity of 50 current and experimental antimalarials against liver, sexual blood, and mosquito stages of selected human and nonhuman parasite species, including Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium berghei, and Plasmodium yoelii. These results provide a valuable guide to help researchers decide which drugs and compounds show most promise as potential future antimalarial drugs for blocking the...

2012-02-14 11:45:07

New research from the University of Melbourne shows how the malaria parasite (Plasmodium falciparum) changes into a banana shape before sexual reproduction, a finding that could provide targets for vaccine or drug development and may explain how the parasite evades the human immune system. The work was conducted by an Australian research team led by Dr Matthew Dixon and PhD student Megan Dearnley from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bio21 Institute at the University...

2012-02-10 10:16:18

A study of almost 3,800 pregnancies has provided the most accurate and direct evidence to date that malaria infection reduces early foetal growth. Low birth weight is the most important risk factor for neonatal mortality in developing countries. The research, carried out on the border of Thailand and Myanmar (Burma), highlights the importance of preventing malaria in pregnancy. According to the World Malaria Report 2011, malaria killed an estimated 655,000 people in 2010. It is caused by...

2012-01-27 12:20:38

New research by scientists at the University of Southampton could lead to the design of more effective drugs to combat malaria. The research will enable scientists to learn more about the nature of the enzymes required for vitamin biosynthesis by the malaria causing pathogen Plasmodium. Vitamins are essential nutrients required in small amounts, the lack of which leads to deficiencies. Many pathogenic microorganisms produce vitamins, and these biosynthetic pathways may provide suitable...

2012-01-25 14:34:31

The parasite that causes malaria is a genetic outlier, which has prevented scientists from discovering the functions of most of its genes. Researchers at National Jewish Health and Yale University School of Medicine have devised a technique to overcome the genetic oddity of Plasmodium falciparum, the major cause of human malaria. This new approach led them discover a new gene involved in lipid synthesis, and opens the door to further genetic discovery for the entire organism. This should...

2012-01-18 21:33:00

The discovery by researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of a molecule that is key to malaria's 'invisibility cloak' will help to better understand how the parasite causes disease and escapes from the defenses mounted by the immune system. The research team, led by Professor Alan Cowman from the institute's Infection and Immunity division, has identified one of the crucial molecules that instructs the parasite to employ its invisibility cloak to hide from the immune system,...

2012-01-12 21:53:48

Genome sequencing helps identify essential protein in disease-carrying parasites Researchers from Boston College have discovered a protein that plays a pivotal role in the progression of the deadly diseases toxoplasmosis and malaria and shown that its function could be genetically blocked in order to halt the progress of the parasite-borne illnesses, the team reports in the current edition of the journal Science. The protein, identified as DOC2.1, plays a similar role in the secretion...

2012-01-09 11:28:02

Because the protein is found in the parasite but not in humans, it is ideal target for an anti-malarial drug A biology lab at Washington University has just cracked the structure and function of a protein that plays a key role in the life of a parasite that killed 655,000 people in 2010. The protein is an enzyme that Plasmodium falciparum, the protozoan that causes the most lethal form of malaria, uses to make cell membrane. The protozoan cannot survive without this enzyme, but even...

2011-12-23 10:16:23

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute have demonstrated that the Anopheles mosquito's innate immune system could be genetically engineered to block the transmission of malaria-causing parasites to humans. In addition, they showed that the genetic modification had limited impact on the mosquito's fitness under laboratory conditions. The researchers' findings are published December 22nd in the Open Access journal PLoS Pathogens. In this study, Dimopoulos and his team...


Word of the Day
barghest
  • A goblin in English folklore, often appearing in the shape of a large dog and believed to portend imminent death or misfortune.
  • A ghost, wraith, hobgoblin, elf, or spirit.
The origin of 'barghest' is not known, but it may be from perhaps burh-ghest, town-ghost, or German Berg-geist (mountain spirit) or Bär-geist (bear-spirit).
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