Glyphosate to Control Malaria!

C. S. Prakash prakash at TUSK.EDU
Wed Jun 24 19:33:35 EST 1998

Check out the latest 'Nature' (June 25) and this website
for an intriguing report that Malarial parasite has shikimate
pathway and that the popular herbicide 'glyphosate' inhibits this and other


Discovery of plant-like metabolic pathway in common parasites provides new
targets for therapy

Effective new ways to inhibit parasites that cause malaria, toxoplasmosis
and cryptosporidiosis

Researchers from the United States and the United Kingdom have found that a
group of parasites responsible for several devastating diseases --
including malaria -- share a metabolic pathway essential for survival in
many plants, fungi and bacteria but not found in mammals. This finding
provides many new targets for anti-parasitic medications, including the
possibility of medicines related to currently available herbicides.

In the June 25 issue of the journal Nature, the researchers demonstrate
that the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup), which interferes with the sixth of
the initial seven enzymes in the plant-like pathway, inhibits in the test
tube the growth of the parasites that cause malaria, toxoplasmosis and

They also show that adding the herbicide to sub-therapeutic doses of a
common anti-microbial medication can protect mice from otherwise fatal
infections with Toxoplasma gondii. Similar tests against related parasites
are planned.

"We urgently need new and better medicines to treat these extremely common
diseases caused by parasites," said team leader Rima McLeod, M.D., the
Jules and
Doris Stein Research to Prevent Blindness Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual
Sciences at the University of Chicago. Some of these diseases are
untreatable at
present because no known medicines inhibit them and others are caused by
parasites that have developed resistance to available medicine. "These
studies provide new, rational targets for development of novel treatments
as well as several well-studied compounds that can interfere with this

C. S. Prakash
Tuskegee University
Center for Plant Biotechnology Research
Tuskegee, AL 36088, USA

mailto:Prakash at tusk.edu

Phone (334) 727 8023; Fax (334) 727 8067

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