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Funding awarded from the Rosetrees Trust for project: Targeting the function of Plasmodium Protein Disulphide Isomerase to Prevent Malarial Transmission.

Rosetree logoGroup Leader Dr Andrew Blagborough has been awarded funding from the Rosetrees Trust for his project “Targeting the function of Plasmodium Protein Disulphide Isomerase to Prevent Malarial Transmission.”

Malaria remains a major global-health challenge, causing 405,000 deaths annually. Existing tools to combat malaria are insufficient to achieve clinical aims, and resistance to current interventions is is a major concern. Definitive evidence demonstrates that targeting malarial transmission is the most effective approach to reduce global burden. A novel but proven manner of achieving this is by targeting Plasmodium using transmission-blocking interventions. Dr Blagborough will be working with UK and international collaborators on this project building upon previous studies that have recently demonstrated that protein disulphide isomerase (PDI) function, encoded by a single gene (PDI-Trans), is essential for malarial transmission (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-54613-0)This work has demonstrated for that first time that PDI function is essential for transmission and emphasizes the potential of anti-PDI agents as novel anti-malarials. 

This project will build upon these preliminary findings, with the dual aims of elucidating the mechanism of PDI-mediated fertilisation in Plasmodium, and the identification and assessment of novel anti-PDI agents to inhibit malarial transmission, with the eventual goal of direct assessment of interventions within endemic settings. Characterisation of this essential process in thePlasmodium lifecycle would dramatically expand our current knowledge regarding parasitic cell biology and lead to the design of further novel interventions against malarial transmission in the near future.

The project has received matched funding from the Rosetrees Trust and the Department of Pathology which will enable the team to develop this research over the next three years with the ultimate aim of developing novel interventions to prevent the transmission of malaria.

The Rosetrees-Cambridge Innovation & Translation Award 2020 is a scheme run by the Rosetrees Trust in collaboration with the University of Cambridge. The scheme is managed by Dr Heike Laman.

 

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