Our studies comprise the design, production and examination of drugs against malaria and leishmaniasis, both of which have global and regional significance. Due to the international interest in these diseases we are cooperating with research groups in both technologically advanced and developing countries. Our specific expertise also involves us in general health projects related to chemotherapy (slow release of drugs, transplantation, cancer, etc.).
One of the major problems in the struggle against malaria is the dwindling arsenal of antimalarial drugs due to the evolution of drug resistance. We are thus attempting to define and validate new drug targets, produce derivatives of existing drugs, and use combinations of drugs that might be synergistic or prevent the development of resistance. The current treatment of leishmanial infections is also inadequate due to toxicity of the marketed first line drugs (pentavalent antimonials) and parasite resistance to these drugs.
Parasitic infection may be overcome by a variety of balanced immune responses. Drugs may affect the disease by reducing parasite load and by altering immune responses. We are therefore investigating drug effects on both parasites and immune functions.
The variety of techniques which have been used throughout our research with parasites are also applied in experiments concerning the treatment of melanoma, solid tumors and bone infections.