Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Vol 4, No 3 (2012)

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Anti-parasite Drug Targets in The Post-genome Era: What Have We Learned and What's Next?

Sailen Barik

Abstract


In spite of centuries of fight against parasites, we have not eliminated any of them, and do not have fail-proof pharmaceuticals against even one. In this evolving war, the genomic era ushers new hope as the genomes of a number of protozoan parasites have been sequenced and made available. Thanks to multiple public-private consortia and many dedicated scientists, this wealth of genomic information is now publicly accessible through web-based databases such as PlasmoDB, CryptoDB, GiardiaDB, ToxoDB, and the selected collections, ParaDB and EupathDB. For the first time in parasitology, we have an unprecedented opportunity to develop antiparasitic drugs targeted against unique parasitic gene products, homologs of which are either absent in the human hosts or are highly dissimilar to their functional counterparts in humans. Here, I provide a short treatise on such efforts, the commonly used techniques and potential pitfalls, and also draw attention to TDR targets database (http://tdrtargets.org), a uniquely comprehensive and interactive resource within the World Health Organization (WHO), focused on Tropical Disease Research (TDR). Lastly, potentially new but yet untested strategies for antiparasitic drug development are offered.


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