Use of Schistosomes for Pharmacological Research
Human schistosomiasis is an illness that infects and debilitates in excess of 200 million people in more than 70 countries in the tropical areas of the world. It is small wonder that massive amounts of money and time are consumed in seeking means to treat, control, and prevent this widespread scourge upon mankind. Economic conditions in the areas of the world where this condition is most prevalent are such that there is a constant search for less costly, more effective means of treatment. One aspect of that research is the seeking out of new target systems within the schistosomes which may be vulnerable to chemotherapy and, hence, provide another means of attack upon this agent. To date, chemotherapeutic attack has focused on three primary targets in the causative organism: portions of the glycolytic pathway, egg formation, and the nervous system (see Senft, 1969, and Cheng, 1977 for reviews). However, the exact mechanisms by which most drugs affect the particular target systems are not well understood, and are, for the most part, empirical in that effects have been widely observed but only sketchily explained.
KeywordsVinca Alkaloid Schistosoma Mansoni Parasitic Flatworm Esophageal Gland Human Schistosomiasis
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