Dr. Silvia Moreno and her research team at the University of Georgia’s Center for Tropical & Emerging Global Diseases and Department of Cellular Biology are providing evidence that it is possible to develop a drug combination to target Toxoplasmosis that synergistically inhibits both host and parasite enzymes.
Toxoplasmosis is caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. It is found throughout the world and can infect both humans and animals. It has been estimated that 30–50% of the global population may be chronically infected with Toxoplasma. The immune system of a healthy individual can control the infection, but it can be dangerous to unborn fetuses or when there is immunosuppression, such as in the case of an organ transplant or chemotherapy. Toxoplasmosis represents a serious public health problem and no preventative or therapeutic vaccine is available for humans.
Moreno’s group proposes a double hit strategy of combining inhibitors for both host and parasite pathways as a novel approach against Toxoplasmosis. The ability of Toxoplasma gondii to manipulate the host cell for its own benefit poses a challenge for drug development. Therefore, inhibiting the host ability to perform this function is a new strategy for drug development.