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Rapid Cryptosporidium Drug Target Identification

Gregory Goldgof and Elizabeth Winzler of the University of California, San Diego in the U.S. will use a genetically modified drug-sensitive yeast strain to quickly and inexpensively identify the cellular target of compounds that can kill the parasite Cryptosporidium, which is a major cause of diarrhea-associated deaths of young children in developing countries. Currently, there is only one treatment available and it is of limited use in some of the more severe cases. The yeast strain has been modified to lack transporter proteins that remove toxic compounds from the yeast cells. By treating the modified yeast with a selection of compounds that can kill Cryptosporidium, they hope to drive some of the yeast cells to develop resistance by mutating genes that are responsible for the drugs activity. By sequencing the resistant yeast using whole genome sequencing, they can then discover the likely target of the drug and how it kills the parasite. This would help to develop new drugs that may be more effective.

More information about Accelerate Development of New Therapies for Childhood Cryptosporidium Infection (Round 18)

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit www.grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.