|G24 Peel Building, University of Salford, Manchester, M5 4WT.|
Malaria continues to inflict a heavy mortality and morbidity burden with up to 3 million annual fatalities globally. Despite significant post-genomic technical advances, drug development has struggled compete with resistance acquisition. My research interests focus on drug discovery/screening and the development of proteomic/mass spectrometric methods to define mechanisms of antimalarial drug action. The emergence of resistance to the current frontline drug Artemisinin and the absence of affordable alternatives in the developmental pipeline make it imperative to explore new options for antimalarial drug discovery.
The Malaria Proteomics Laboratory at the University of Salford is currently screening a range of compounds for potential antimalarial properties. The main areas of investigation are summarized below:
Drug repositioning or re-purposing, whereby existing FDA approved drugs already used in other diseases are screened for antimalarial activity. The strategy affords a fast tracked route to discover new antimalarial options as well as synergistic compounds which could be used in combination with current frontline drugs impede the progress of resistance. Fluorescence-based in vitro drug susceptibility assays optimized in the laboratory are used in the preliminary screens.
A second research strategy focuses on the investigation of a range of natural product options for antimalarial efficacy. A collaborative project with the National Institute for Pharmaceutical research and development (NIPRD, Nigeria) is currently exploring a series of ‘traditional fever cures’ for in vitro antimalarial activity. Potential leads are taken forward for bioassay guided fractionation and active compound isolation. Fractionation end points will be guided by proteomic/mass spectrometric parameters to improve on currently available drug susceptibility assays which are largely reliant on parasite death, a crude and late measure of antimalarial efficacy.