Two papers in this week's PLoS Medicine suggest possible new avenues of treatment against malaria. In the first paper, researchers led by Dominique Mazier from the Laboratory INSERM/ University Pierre et Marie Curie, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, isolated a novel compound, tazopsine, from a plant traditionally used against malaria in Madagascar and showed it to be active against the liver stages of human and mouse malaria. One of its semisynthetic derivatives, NCP-tazopsine, completely protected mice from a challenge with malarial parasites, and was specifically active against the liver stage, but inactive against the blood forms of the malaria parasite. This unique specificity in an antimalarial drug makes the development of drug resistance much less likely, and suggests that this compound is a promising new candidate for anti-malarial prophylaxis.
Citation: Carraz M, Jossang A, Franetich JF, Siau A, Ciceron L, et al. (2006) A plant-derived mor phinan as a novel lead compound active against malaria liver stages. PLoS Med 3(12): e513.
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