Study of Malaria Parasite Reveals New Drug Targets

January 12, 2018

A new study that identifies a litany of mutations that allow the malaria-causing parasite to become resistant to drugs has also identified potential new ways to kill the parasite.

The study – published this week in Science – was conducted by an international team of researchers, including members of David Fidock’s lab at Columbia University Medical Center.

The parasite that causes malaria (Plasmodium falciparum) is now resistant to most drugs, and experts says new drugs must be developed to sustain progress against the disease.

Knowing how the parasite develops resistance should help researchers in this effort.

“This rich data set [provides] a powerful contribution toward basic research for malaria elimination,” wrote malaria researcher Jane Carleton of NYU in an accompanying editorial. “In the end, designing ‘resistance-proof’ drugs may be the best strategy for controlling malaria.”