Eileen Devaney and Elmarie Myburgh of the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom will determine whether parasitic filarial worms can be visualized in the lymphatic system of live animals as a means to measure drug activity. Testing candidate anti-filarial drugs using in vivo models is preferable to the current in vitro assays because the selected drugs are more likely to be effective in humans. They will infect mice with either larval or adult stage parasites, and then inject them with bioluminescent substrates of specific immune cells. This should enable them to image the host inflammatory response to the infection, track the parasites within the lymphatic system, and determine the parasites' longevity. Probes to directly detect excretory-secretory products in live adult parasites will also be developed. This approach will ultimately be used for in vivo drug screens.
More information about New Approaches for Detection, Treatment, and Control of Selected Neglected Tropical Diseases (Round 11)