Drug Treatment has Profound Effect on Cerebral Malaria in Mice - Dream Health

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Friday, 13 July 2018

Drug Treatment has Profound Effect on Cerebral Malaria in Mice

Treatment of Cerebral Malaria in mice discovered

Cerebral malaria is so fatal as there are no early warning symptoms of this disease . It is hard to detect until it is too late. According to WHO, there are 438,000 people who succumb to cerebral malaria every year. At present there are only anti-malarial drugs for treating this deadly disease. The anti-malarial drugs that are available in the market do not provide optimal recovery from cerebral malaria. Researchers have been looking for new therapies to treat this deadly disease.

There has been a breakthrough in treating cerebral malaria in mice. Scientists from the Manchester and Glasgow Universities in the UK have discovered a new treatment in this field. The researchers discovered that by inhibiting a complex known as inflammasome and at the same time administering the anti-malarial drugs reduced the mortality rate in mice who suffered from cerebral malaria.

These findings were published in PNAS and has been funded by the Medical Research Council. The mice that were treated with the inflammasome inhibitors together with anti-malarial drugs showed significant reduction in the levels of cerebral malaria as compared with the mice that were treated with anti-malarial drugs alone.

The recovery of mice from cerebral malaria 


By looking at the sequencing of RNA in the brain cells of mice, the recovery from the experimental cerebral malaria was due to a family of genes that controlled the immune response in the brain. When IL33, a product of one of the genes was given along with anti-malarial drugs, the mortality rate in mice shot down from 20% to 0%. In addition, the other pathological parameters of the brain like haemorrhage, blocked vessels, leakage and impaired neuron signals reduced drastically.

From this they inferred that the IL33 was vital in order to inhibit the inflammasome. When this inflammasome inhibitor was given along with the anti-malarial drugs to treat the experimental cerebral malaria, the researchers got the same result as the treatment with IL33.

Treatment on Humans suffering from Cerebral Malaria 

This breakthrough in the treatment of mice suffering from cerebral malaria is very promising and researchers are keen on trying it on humans.

The next step is to check if the dysregulation in the IL33-inflammasome pathway will occur in humans who are suffering from cerebral malaria. It is yet to be seen if it will influence their recovery and this experiment will begin with their partners in Africa.

By identifying the inflammasome in the experimental cerebral malaria and its importance, the researchers are looking at developing other effective inhibitors to treat inflammatory diseases.

One of the professors from the University of Glasgow says that this is a good example of how basic research can lead to the treatment of one of the deadliest disease. Even when this treatment is given at the advanced stage of an established infection it is effective. This is what they had encountered in clinical cases and are going ahead with testing this treatment on humans affected by cerebral malaria.

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