Chimeric Nematode Models for Anthelmintic Discovery
Richard Komuniecki of The University of Toledo in the U.S. will develop a high-throughput screening platform to identify novel drug targets for treating parasitic nematode (worm) infections, which cause significant morbidity in developing countries. Current drugs are ineffective against some parasitic species, and other species are becoming resistant, thus there is an urgent need for alternative approaches. However, high-throughput drug screens have been challenging because most parasitic nematodes cannot be cultured in the laboratory. To bypass this, they will create chimeric nematodes by introducing key neuronal drug targets from parasitic nematodes into the free-living model nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. This adapted model will then be used to develop a screening assay for identifying compounds with anti-parasitic activity. This approach could also be applied to any other existing or proposed drug targets.