Agenzia Giornalistica
direttore Paolo Pagliaro

Modena leads the way for an international research project on infectious diseases

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Modena leads the way for an international research project on infectious diseases

Mar. 11 - A new three-year international project with the Department of Life Sciences of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia has been set up as a research consortium called New Medicine for Trypanosomatidic Infections – NMTrypI. The consortium is responsible for the implementation of the project, and will focus on the study of molecules that can treat infectious diseases generated by microorganisms of the family Tripanosomatidae, such as leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis. The NMTrypI project received €7.6 million in funding from the European Commission, and currently involves about 50 researchers in 8 academic institutions from Italy, Greece, Portugal, Sudan, and Brazil, and 5 small and medium-sized enterprises. The Modena group is responsible for the research; and is coordinated by Prof. Maria Paola Costi, Professor of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, alongside Glauco Ponterini, Professor of Physical Chemistry, Luca Constantino, Annalisa Tait and Dr. Donatella Tondi, of the Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Toxicology department within the Life Sciences. "The need for new drugs is urgent - says Prof. Maria Paola Costi - and it will be also in the near future. The NMTrypI consortium uses a highly interdisciplinary approach to improve the active ingredients identified since 2000, first published in major journals, then patented, as is the case for folic acid analogs, published in PNAS in 2011. An important part of the project will be devoted to the study of the natural substances able to fight disease due to Tripanosomatidae. The drugs target those metabolic mechanisms associated with protozoal infections and pathogenicity."


The spread of infectious microorganisms generated by the Tripanosomatidae family, such as leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis, is a huge problem in countries where this type of parasite is endemic: Africa, South America and India. The impact of these infectious diseases in Italy is lower, but not to be underestimated, as leishmaniasis may become a serious problem when associated with AIDS or it spreads to infants. Canine leishmaniasis is also a reserve of the disease, mainly concentrated on the Italian islands. The problems related to drugs currently on the market concern mainly their low efficiency, excessive toxicity and the increased resistance of the microorganisms.

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