Protozoan parasites are highly distributed among tropical countries, especially South-America, Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. Among these parasites, Plasmodium is the causative agent of malaria, the most devastating parasitic disease. Due to inefficient treatments and the fast-developing parasites, the existing drugs are losing efficacy because more and more resistances are occurring rapidly. Therefore, it is necessary to increase research in the fields of drug discovery, drug target efficacy and drug delivery. It is highly recommended to focus on drug targets that are specific for the pathogen to reduce side effects on the human. Hence, in this doctoral application, we will focus on compounds inhibiting the vitamin B6 biosynthetic pathway of Plasmodium falciparum, the species which causes severe malaria and is responsible for most of the malaria cases in Sub-Saharan Africa. In a first attempt, compounds will be designed to address the vitamin B6 biosynthetic enzymes Pdx1 and /or Pdx2 and inhibit their activity. Following this, the compounds will be tested on in vitro and in vivo studies using cell culture and mice experiments, respectively. After evaluating the compound's efficacy and biocompatibility, nano-technological approaches will be used to improve the efficacy of the treatment. For that, nanoparticles (NPs) will be used to modulate the pharmacological properties of the compounds, facilitating the delivery and protecting against degradation inside the body. With this, we aim to develop a biocompatible, affordable, and highly potent drug delivery system for an effective treatment of malaria.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: