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Searching for bioactive metabolites from Brazilian biodiversity as drug candidates for diseases caused by parasitic worms

Grant number: 23/08418-6
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: February 01, 2024 - January 31, 2026
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Parasitology - Helminthology of Parasites
Principal Investigator:Josué de Moraes
Grantee:Josué de Moraes
Host Institution: Universidade Universus Veritas Guarulhos (Univeritas UNG). Guarulhos , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Ademar Alves da Silva Filho ; Adriano Defini Andricopulo ; Carolina Horta Andrade ; Damião Pergentino de Sousa ; João Henrique Ghilardi Lago ; Maria Cecília Barbosa da Silveira Salvadori


The neglected diseases caused by helminths affect more than one billion people, mostly children, and have a significant impact on health, education, productivity, and socioeconomic development. Chemotherapy remains the primary method of controlling these diseases, but the number and effectiveness of available drugs are limited. Recognizing this challenge, the World Health Organization (WHO), in its new roadmap with global goals and milestones for the control of neglected diseases by 2030, emphasizes the importance of searching for new anthelmintic agents. In this context, considering that Brazilian biodiversity is a promising source of molecules with pharmacological activity, our research group, in collaboration with several researchers, particularly those involved in the BIOTA-FAPESP Program, has been making efforts to search for natural bioactive substances with anthelmintic action, especially those derived from Brazilian plant species. The present project aims to continue prospecting studies of bioactive molecules, focusing on the search for prototypes with antiparasitic action against Schistosoma mansoni, Toxocara canis, Angiostrongylus cantonensis, and Caenorhabditis elegans. To achieve this, we will conduct tests on samples from the natural compound bank of various national programs, as well as conduct biomonitoring studies using plant extracts/fractions. Isolated compounds will be chemically characterized and tested for their anthelmintic effects. Once active substances are identified in vitro, in vivo assays will be conducted using the murine schistosomiasis model. Active molecules may also undergo molecular modifications guided by in silico analysis of ADME/Tox properties to optimize biological activities and/or reduce toxicity. The objective of this proposal is to identify new anthelmintic compounds of natural origin, thereby contributing to expanding the limited therapeutic options available for neglected diseases. Additionally, the proposal aims to contribute to the training of human resources in various areas of knowledge. (AU)

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