Why hepatocytes are enabling antimalarial drug discovery

BioIVT, providers of research models and services for drug and diagnostic development, will be hosting a webinar where researchers from the University of Georgia will explain the first medium-throughput, 384-well plate-based liver-stage antimalarial drug discovery platform which they have developed.

The webinar, entitled Identifying the Critical Factors Enabling a Phenotypic Screen for Small Molecule Activity Against Plasmodium Parasites Developing in Primary Human Hepatocytes, will cover how primary hepatocytes are being used to screen small molecule drugs for activity against the Plasmodium parasites that cause malaria.

In 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated 229 million cases of malaria worldwide, and an estimated 409,000 malaria deaths. The most vulnerable, accounting for 67% of malaria deaths worldwide, were children under the age of five.

Continued research in this area is important because malaria parasites have developed resistance to many early antimalarial drugs, which impacts malaria control efforts. For example, Plasmodium falciparum, exhibits multi-drug resistance to chloroquine, sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine, mefloquine, halofantrine, and quinine.

Dr. Steven Maher is an expert in both Plasmodium culture techniques, which are applicable throughout the parasite’s lifecycle (blood, mosquito, and liver stages), and complex hepatocyte culture models. As an associate research scientist in the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases Department at the University of Georgia, he will use this webinar to describe how his team developed this innovative drug discovery platform. “Information like this is of great benefit to the scientific community as researchers explore new approaches to safely and effectively treat malaria and address that unmet medical need,” said Scott Heyward, Director, R&D and Scientific Affairs, BioIVT. The webinar will take place on at 11am ET on March 4, 2021. You can register here.

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