Cryptosporidium Culturing and Drug-Screening
Anastasios Tsaousis of the University of Kent in the United Kingdom will build a screening platform to identify drugs that can be used to treat diarrhea caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium, which is the second major cause of death in children under five years old in developing countries. There are currently no effective drugs for treating Cryptosporidium, largely because it cannot easily be grown in the laboratory making it difficult to study and test for new drugs. They have developed a two-dimensional cell culture system using a specific cell type that can be stably infected with Cryptosporidium and cultivated long term. They will use the CRISPR/Cas9 gene modification technique to alter selected Cryptosporidium genes for monitoring parasite growth, and use it in their cell culture system to screen a library of FDA-approved drugs to identify candidate drugs that block Cryptosporidium growth.