Repurposing Human Cancer Drugs to Treat Trypanosome Diseases
Danae Schulz and Erik Debler of Rockefeller University in the U.S. will test whether a drug that was originally developed to treat cancer and heart disease can also kill trypanosomes, which are parasites that cause African trypanosomiasis in humans and cattle. Repurposing a drug already approved for a different disease is highly cost-effective as expensive human safety trials are already complete. This particular drug is a bromodomain inhibitor that interferes with the structure of chromatin, and they have shown that it destroys trypanosomes grown in vitro. They will test whether the drug can cure trypanosome infections in mice, and determine how the drug and its derivatives interact with trypanosomes using binding and structural studies. Subsequent studies would test the drug in cattle and humans.