Forgotten plagues: in pursuit of neglected diseases
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 from 5:45 pm to 6:45 pm (AEST)
Between 14 and 17 million people die each year due to infectious diseases - nearly all live in developing countries.
Many of these diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis, do not attract the same funding and public awareness of other diseases, despite being relatively cheap and simple to treat. Aside from the incredibly high death rates, neglected diseases are also associated with a huge economic and social burden arising from the great prevalence of recurrent infection.
New drugs are desperately needed for these diseases due to the rapid emergence of drug resistance.
Tonight you will hear from award winning chemist’s Dr Richard Payne and Dr Matthew Todd about Sydney University’s latest research projects addressing this international health crisis.
Dr Payne uses a multi-pronged approach to elucidate new drug leads that inhibit the growth of the bacterium (in TB) and parasite (in malaria). Using a combination of computer-aided drug design, synthetic organic chemistry and drug screening technologies his group has discovered a number of compounds that operate via a novel mechanism of action to currently employed therapies and may serve as new drug leads for these neglected diseases.
Dr Todd recently led an open source project that discovered a new way to produce amedicine now used worldwide for the treatment of Bilharzia, a terrible parasitic disease that afflicts millions of the world's poorest people. Currently he is leading an Open Source Drug Discovery consortium to find a new drug for malaria. Open source drug discovery is a novel concept where new drugs are developed using a process where all data and ideas are shared as they are discovered, and anyone may participate at any level. The open nature of the work means there are no patents and that any technology is both academically and commercially exploitable by whoever wishes to do so.
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