New research shows that infectious disease-fighting drugs could be designed to block a pathogen’s entry into cells rather than to kill the bug itself.
Historically, medications for infectious diseases have been designed to kill the offending pathogen. This new strategy is important, researchers say, because many parasites and bacteria can eventually mutate their way around drugs that target them, resulting in drug resistance.
In this study, scientists showed that using an experimental agent to block one type of an enzyme in cell cultures and mice prevented a specific parasite from entering white blood cells, a step required for the parasite to cause infection. This method applies to pathogens that must enter a host cell to survive and do their damage. Some bugs can thrive in a host body outside cell walls.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
The research appears online this week in the early edition of the .