Neurophysiology-Based Platform for Soil-Transmitted Helminth Drug Discovery
Janis Weeks and Shawn Lockery of the University of Oregon and NemaMetrix in the U.S. have developed a drug discovery platform that they will tailor to identify new drugs for treating soil-transmitted helminthic (STH) infections, which are caused by parasitic nematodes (worms). STH infections are the most common human infection, causing pain, disability, and even death. However, current treatments are inadequate and due to technological barriers there are no new drugs on the horizon. This new platform integrates microfluidics and electrophysiological methods to record electrical signals in parasitic nematodes. This technology provides the first semi-automated, medium-throughput platform for identifying new drugs that kill worms by disrupting neuromuscular function.