Never before had the chemical class of molecules called spirotetrahydro-beta-carbolines ever attracted attention for its anti-malarial attributes. But after a team of researchers led by The Scripps Research Institute’s Elizabeth Winzeler screened its last set of 17 compounds–part of a cell-based screening campaign at Scripps that used a compound library of 12,000 purified natural products donated by Novartis– the “spiroindolones”, as their known, stood out for their special physicochemical properties and a mechanism of action different than those of currently used therapies.
As reported in Science Daily, the new finding, published in the journal Science on September 3, 2010, marks a major breakthrough for malaria research and stands as proof of the ability of public-private partnerships (PPP) to deliver new products for diseases that disproportionately affect developing world populations.
The PPP that identified spiroindolones’ anti-malarial activity includes The Scripps Research Institute, the Swiss Tropical Institute, the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation and the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases, the Medicines for Malaria Venture, the Wellcome Trust, and the W.M. Keck Foundation. Funding was also made available by US government agencies the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) as well as by Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).
“We’re very excited about the new compound,” Winzeler told Science Daily. “It has a lot of encouraging features as a drug candidate, including an attractive safety profile and potential treatment in a single oral dose.”
Read the full article at Science Daily