Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect more than 1 billion people under poverty conditions in underdeveloped and developing countries. Among the NTDs, Chagas disease and Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) are the 13 most widespread diseases in the world caused by protozoa. Since the conventional medicaments to treat these diseases are toxic or cause severe adverse reactions, a search for new drugs is necessary. Natural compounds extracted from plants and microorganisms have been successfully investigated to find new solutions against these problems over the years. In a recent work conducted by the group of Prof. Schmidt in Germany, a West African plant from Apocynaceae, Holarrhena africana, showed a promising activity against Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense. Malouetia sp. belongs to the same family, tribe and produces aminosteroidal alkaloids as H. africana. Since few is known about their secondary metabolites and their endophytes, Malouetia sp. and its associated microbiota will be investigated to check their potential against neglected diseases (HAT and Chagas disease). For that, this project will be performed in a collaboration between Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo (FCFRP-USP), Brazil and Institut für Pharmazeutische Biologie und Phytochemie (IPBP), Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster (WWU), Germany. The research group of Dr. Monica Tallarico Pupo (FCFRP-USP) has all the necessary equipment and experience with endophytes and their natural products while the research group of Prof. Dr Thomas Schmidt has the experience with plants of the Apocynaceae family and the necessary equipment for the successfully development of the project.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: