Graduation Year

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Medical Sciences

Major Professor

Dennis E. Kyle, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Burt E. Anderson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John H. Adams, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andreas Seyfang, Ph.D.

Keywords

BCRP, drug assay, liver, Malaria, menoctone, Plasmodium

Abstract

Malaria is a devastating global health issue that affects approximately 200 million people yearly and over half a million deaths are caused by this parasitic protozoan disease. Most commercially available drugs only target the blood stage form of the parasite, but the only way to ensure proper elimination is to treat the exoerythrocytic stages of the parasite development cycle. There is a demand for the discovery of new liver stage antimalarial compounds as there are only two current FDA approved drugs for the treatment of liver stage parasites, one of which fails to eliminate dormant forms and the other inducing hemolytic anemia in patients with G6PD deficiency. In efforts to address the dire need for liver stage drugs, we developed a high-throughput liver stage drug-screening assay to identify liver stage active compounds from a wide variety of chemical libraries with known blood stage activity. The liver stage screen led us to further investigate an old, abandoned compound known as menoctone. Menoctone was developed as a liver stage active antimalarial, however, the development of more potent compounds led to the abandonment of further menoctone research. Our research demonstrated that resistant parasites can transmit mutations through mosquitoes, which was previously believed to not be possible. Furthermore, we studied a novel genetic marker that may indicate potential resistance against malaria parasite infection and the cytotoxic effects associated with the disease. Future experiments aim to identify and advance our methods for the elimination of Plasmodium exoerythrocytic parasites.

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