RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
Recombinant DNA-derived leishmania proteins: from the laboratory to the field.
Leishmaniases, caused by parasites belonging to Leishmania spp, constitute a vast variety of diseases, from cutaneous lesions (CL) to visceral leishmaniasis (VL). If untreated, leishmaniases can be fatal, and affect 12 million people in nearly 90 countries, presenting a worldwide public-health problem. Most diagnostic tools are not suitable for use in field conditions. There is no satisfactory chemotherapy for CL; chemotherapy for VL is efficient in most immunocompetent people, but not in immunocompromised individuals, and is toxic and costly; and chemotherapy-resistant leishmania strains have also been reported. At present, there is no vaccine against leishmaniases: vaccine development for parasitic diseases is more difficult than for most bacteria and viruses due to the complexity of the pathogen and its intricate interactions with the vertebrate host. We review the recombinant DNA-derived leishmania proteins of potential use in diagnostics, therapy, and development of vaccines, and address the question of how these proteins can aid in the fight against leishmaniases.
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