Friday, June 28, 2013

A new tool coming to keep toxoplasmosis at bay?

Take you, me and someone sitting near you at lunch. Chances are at least one of us has Toxoplasma parasites in the brain, alive but safely inactivated by the immune system.

But if the immune system is compromised — say in cases of HIV or chemotherapy — the parasite can emerge from its latent state and resume replicating, creating a serious and sometimes fatal infection. It also poses a risk of congenital birth defects in pregnant women.

Now IU School of Medicine researchers Bill Sullivan, Ph.D., Ron Wek, Ph.D., Christian Konrad, Ph.D., and Sherry Queener, Ph.D., report that guanabenz, a drug used to treat hypertension, may work as a “sleeping pill” to keep the Toxoplasma parasite under control.

In a study published in the April 2013 edition of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, the researchers tested the effects of guanabenz on parasites in cell culture and found that it...

Read the full article here.

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