The recent Nature paper describes a new preclinical candidate drug with the potential to treat visceral leishmaniasis. Compound GSK3186899/ DDD853651 has a novel mechanism of action, working principally through inhibition of an enzyme called CRK12. The research is part of a close collaboration between Dundee’s DDU, GSK Global Health Research and Development in Tres Cantos and Wellcome.
Visceral leishmaniasis kills tens of thousands of people every year, mainly among the poorest in the world. The disease is caused by a parasite, which is spread through the bite of infected sandflies. People infected with the disease suffer fever, weight loss and anaemia, and the disease is typically fatal unless treated. The currently available drugs have limitations and are not ideal for use in resource-poor settings, resulting in a clear need for new and improved treatments to address this significant unmet medical need.
This is a encouraging step forward in the development of new, oral and safer drugs to tackle leishmaniasis however this compound still has some way to go.