Kinetoplastid Parasites


Kinetoplastid parasites, most notably of the genus Trypanosoma and Leishmania, have a major impact on the quality of life in the developing world. Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT, or African sleeping sickness), Chagas disease, and Leishmaniasis typically afflict the poorest and most neglected segments of these populations, and as such have historically been of little interest to the modern pharmaceutical industry. As a consequence, the few treatments that exist for these diseases are to some extent effective, however, often toxic, and not adapted to the field conditions. More recently, however, a resurgence of interest and an increase in funding have created an environment where multi-partner consortia are applying modern drug discovery methods to kinetoplastid diseases. These efforts have already produced new potential therapies for each of the kinetoplastid diseases. Clinical evaluation of these novel drug candidates (in many cases, ongoing) will determine their potential to transform the therapeutic landscape. This review will summarize the therapeutic challenges presented by each of the kinetoplastid diseases, the “state of the art” of current treatments, and will focus on evolving opportunities, emphasizing the role of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) as a preferred development partner Product Development Partnership (PDP) providing “the best science for the most neglected.”


von Geldern, T.; Harhay, M.O.; Scandale, I.; Don, R. Kinetoplastid Parasites. Topics in Medicinal Chemistry (2011) 7: 181-242. [Third World Diseases] [DOI: 10.1007/7355_2011_17]

Kinetoplastid Parasites

Published 1 January 2011