RepLeish – Repositioning drugs based on kinase inhibitors as anti-parasitic therapies for the treatment of tegumentary leishmaniasis

Leishmaniases are caused by parasites of the genus Leishmania and can range from localized skin ulcerations to potentially fatal systemic infections. These diseases affect vulnerable populations and are strongly associated with poverty. Current therapies for the treatment of leishmaniasis have multiple drawbacks, including severe side effects and variable efficacy. Targeted therapies, where the molecular targets of the drugs are known, represent a proven strategy for developing safe and effective drugs. One of the most successful target therapies in modern medicine is the modulation of protein kinase activity by small synthetic molecules. These molecules are the active ingredient in more than 90 drugs in clinical use for human diseases. As in humans, Leishmania protein kinases perform important cellular functions and are essential for the survival of these parasites in humans.
The project has the support of FINEP and Eurofarma. It is conducted by CQMED in collaboration with Eurofarma, Institute of Chemistry (Unicamp) and Institute of Biology (Unicamp). The objective is to evaluate the repurposing of human kinase inhibitors in clinical use as effective and safe anti-parasitic therapies for the treatment of tegumentary leishmaniasis. Furthermore, the project contributes to the training of young researchers and to the development of new technologies.

RepLeish screening cascade.

Photo: Macrophage filled with parasite in amastigote form as well as extracellular Leishmania donovani (Ajay Kumar Chaurasiya, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons).

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