- To discover Anti-protozoan parasite drugs for the treatment of Chagas disease, a neglected tropical disease (NTD).
What are the health needs and challenges?
Chagas’ disease is endemic in 21 countries across Latin America and kills more people in the region than any other parasite-borne disease, including malaria. More than 25 million people are at risk worldwide most of whom are living in Latin America, and patient numbers are also growing in non-endemic countries such as the United States and Australia, as well as in some European countries. The disease is transmitted by an insect known as the ‘kissing bug’ and, without treatment, is potentially fatal. Existing treatments are known to have serious safety limitations and their efficacy diminishes the longer the patient has been infected.
Partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges
In April 2016, Astellas signed a new collaborative research agreement with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) to discover Anti-protozoan parasite drugs for the treatment of Chagas disease, one of Neglected Tropical Diseases. Since 2012, Astellas has been collaborative with five research institutions in Japan as well as with an international non-profit organization to discover new drugs for the treatment of NTDs caused by protozoan parasites belonging to trypanosomatidae. By utilizing the knowledge obtained through this collaborative research, Astellas and AIST will now pursue collaborative research to discover new drugs for the treatment of Chagas disease.
Under this collaborative research agreement, Astellas and AIST will work together to validate whether genes crucial for the survival of Trypanosoma cruzi can be pinpointed in a short period of time by using gene editing technology. Astellas will mainly be responsible for selecting appropriate genes to be verified, and AIST will lead the gene editing process.
Results and milestones
In case this approach is validated, the formation of AIST-driven research consortium, in which multiple research institutions will participate to conduct extensive genome editing studies on the genes of Trypanosoma cruizi and pursue discovery of new drugs for the treatment of Chagas disease in a larger framework, is planned. Astellas also plans to consider joining the consortium.
SGDs the partnership contributes to
- 3.3: Communicable diseases and NTDs
- 3.8: Achieve universal health coverage
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- French Guiana
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)