Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have discovered a new molecular target for the treatment of malaria and a potential candidate compound to address the target. Their research focuses on the function of MetAP2 proteins; these proteins are found in all organisms, including plasmodium falciparum (the parasite that causes malaria), and are essential for the survival of cells.
Recent research has found that interfering with MetAP2 with the antibiotic fumagillin stops malaria parasite growth. Fumagillin causes brain cell death, however, so the Johns Hopkins researchers tested a derivative, fumarranol, on mouse cells containing the plasmodium MetAP2 as well as in live mice. In both cases MetAP2 function was inhibited; with the mice, parasite load was significantly reduced after 26 days, with some mice considered to be cured of malaria.
It's good that researchers are still hard at work on developing new treatments for malaria, as there is increasing resistance to some of the major malarial treatments out there. Hopefully this discovery will facilitate the development and roll out of more efficacious malarial drugs.
article link here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090518134144.htm