Calcium receptor could stop sleeping sickness in its tracks


Researchers at the University of Georgia have found a calcium receptor tucked away inside the sleeping sickness trypanasome that could be a new target for drugs to treat the devastating disease. The receptor acts as a messenger, controlling growth and replication in the parasite, and blocking it in mice stopped the infection in its tracks. Sleeping sickness infects thousands of people every year, causing drowsiness, anxiety, fever, weakness and even death. It is most common in sub-Saharan Africa and has an impact on work and the ability to care for families, and also affects domesticated animals. There have been few new drugs developed since the 1940s. There is a similar receptor in human cells that plays a role in blood clotting and could lead to new drugs for use in bleeding and trauma. Article | Abstract

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