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With an estimated 12 Mio affected humans, leishmaniases belong to the most relevant NTDs. Some Leishmania species only affect the skin, others the skin-mucosal transitions causing mutilating disfigurations. Yet others infect inner organs and cause life-threatening generalized diseases.
The old but still widespread treatment with antimonial drugs (arsenic-like toxins) is threatened by increasing resistance of the parasites. On the search for the underlying resistance causes and in pursuit of new drugs, we have contributed on both fronts. Thus, we have detected a small group of leishmania genes grouped around an already known drug-resistance gene. To combat resistance, we participate in a research network identifying and studying potentially effective new compounds. We found that certain plant products, so-called flavonoles, are active against Leishmania infection in vitro and may be leads for drug development.
Paloma Tejera Nevado, Eugenia Bifeld, Katharina Höhn, Julia Eick, Joachim Clos and external cooperation partners (see publication)