Cyanotriazole binds to the DNA cleavage site of Trypanosoma cruzi Topoisomerase II via a covalent bond with a cysteine residue. (Andreas Schenk)

No­var­tis-led group de­vel­ops new class of an­tipar­a­sitic drug tar­get­ing dis­eases caused by try­panosomes

Try­panosomes look like mi­cro­scop­ic one-celled eels, but in­stead of wa­ter, some of the par­a­sites swim in blood and oth­ers dive in and out of cells.

The dead­ly group of par­a­sites are re­spon­si­ble for three ma­jor dis­eases — hu­man African try­panoso­mi­a­sis, al­so known as sleep­ing sick­ness; South Amer­i­can try­panoso­mi­a­sis, or Cha­gas dis­ease; and leish­ma­ni­a­sis — that put mil­lions of peo­ple and live­stock at risk of in­fec­tion and some­times death. These dis­eases his­tor­i­cal­ly have seen lim­it­ed in­vest­ment from ma­jor drug de­vel­op­ers as they pre­dom­i­nant­ly im­pact peo­ple in less wealthy coun­tries.

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