New Molecular Therapies for Parasitic Helminth Infections
Tim Day and Mostafa Zamanian of Iowa State University in the U.S. will evaluate a new approach for treating parasitic worm infections based on blocking parasite microRNAs. Parasitic worms (helminths), such as Schistosoma, release small vesicles called exosomes containing microRNAs, which are thought to target host genes and aid infectivity. They will test this directly using a mouse model of schistosome infection by identifying the relevant microRNAs, designing anti-microRNAs to block them, and determining if the mice can be made resistant to infection. This approach could be expanded to other parasitic worm infections and ultimately used to develop an effective human therapeutic.