A Small Animal Model of Onchocerciasis
Joseph Turner of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom will develop a small animal model of the parasitic disease onchocerciasis, also called river blindness, which is the second leading infectious cause of blindness. Treatment options for filarial infections are currently limited and lack effectiveness. Thus, small animal models of filarial infections are invaluable for preclinical testing of candidate drugs. In Phase I, they established the mouse model by infecting mice lacking an adaptive immune system with Onchocerca parasites isolated from infected cows, and tested its feasibility for screening drugs. In Phase II, they will expand their model, and use it for preclinically testing the safety and efficacy of several candidate drugs currently under development.