Pune: India ranks fourth in the world in the number of deaths due to malaria. But now there are hopes as CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL), Pune in collaboration with International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi have found potential leads to anti-malarials.
The efforts of three research groups led by Dr D Srinivasa Reddy, Dr Dhanasekaran Shanmugam (CSIR-NCL) and Dr Amit Sharma (ICGEB) have assessed the fungal metabolite-inspired molecules (Cladosporin stereoisomers) as potential lead for antimalarials.
Dr Reddy said, “We have synthesized eight natural compounds of which two compounds have shown the potency which can kill the Plasmodium (Malaria) parasite. With this discovery we are trying to find a drug on the disease. We are in constant need to develop new mechanisms since existing ones develop drug resistant. Thus, continuous need to develop new mechanisms is there.”
The scientists have uncovered the bases for wide differences in antimalarial potency between various sterioisomeric forms of cladosporin using an elegant chemistry, strong biochemisty and modern structure-based methods.
“Three categories of molecules were identified as potent, moderately potent and non-potent, based on target binding and parasite killing. The validation of two most potent stereoisomers of cladosporin was undergone that will allow its development for drug-like properties”, Reddy said.
“Now we are planning to conduct animal experiments,” he said, adding that the research paper has been published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, a journal of American Chemical Society. The team is now working on identified molecules with the aim to refine their drug-like properties.