A new study at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University claims to have identified a protein that is vital to the good health of the parasite that causes sleeping sickness. It could prove to be the breakthrough in treatment of sleeping sickness.
According to the researchers, the findings could lead to inexpensive new therapies as disrupting this protein, called proliferating cell nuclear antigen or PCNA, with drugs could potentially make it impossible for the parasite to reproduce and survive, reducing the health dangers to its human hosts.
The researchers suggest that it could help suggest multiple ways to disrupt PCNA's function, including using drugs to either over express, deplete, or block the protein.
Sleeping sickness is caused by invasion of the Trypanosoma brucei parasite into the host's bloodstream. It causes fever, headache, and intense aches and pains. In later stages of the disease, the complications get worse and there could be slurred speech, confusion, and difficulty in walking.
The study appeared in the journal Cell Cycle.
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