Schistosomiasis is caused by parasitic flatworms and results in around 300,000 deaths annually. Praziquantel is the only treatment for Schistosomiasis, but the emergence of resistance has resulted in treatment failure, and therefore the development of therapies with novel modes of action are paramount.
This project aims to build-on our preliminary findings that the BCL-2 family in the intrinsic cell death pathway of Schistosomes can be exploited as a new drug target.1
The project will use medicinal chemistry to design BCL-2 targeted drugs with improved efficacy. Compounds designed will be characterised in cell death models and schistosomes using complementary biochemistry, cell biology and parasitology techniques. Structural biology will also assist in drug design by revealing how they bind to BCL-2 proteins.
Our laboratory applies chemical biology and medicinal chemistry techniques to investigate and better understand biological processes that are essential to the pathogenicity of parasitic organisms. Our goal is to translate the basic understanding of biological mechanisms into new therapeutics to treat infectious diseases.