International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, India
Title: Discovering multiple novel magic bullets towards combinatorial cure of malaria without the shadow of resistance
Biography: Dinkar Sahal
The parasite that causes malaria is extremely ancient. The disease it causes has been tormenting mankind for a long time and the image of a child dying of malaria every minute continues to haunt us even today. Our handling of malaria for the last hundred years has taught us that the malaria parasite which relishes riding on the invertebrate mosquito vector to fly from one vertebrate victim to another vertebrate host is not easy to control. Its ancient heritage appears to have taught the parasite to emerge with heightened vengeance whenever we have challenged it with either ill equipped vaccines or misused drugs. Today’s malaria parasite is well equipped to conquer almost all antimalarial drugs through resistance and we have miles to go before we have credible vaccines against malaria. However, innovations in chromatography and high throughput screening platforms offer us immense possibilities of discovering new drugs and my talk will present a glimpse of how in collaboration with several co-scientists we are exploring both nature and chemically generated molecular diversity to identify novel pharmacophores against malaria. Although we are exploring those magic bullets that were famously enunciated by Paul Ehrlich, we are aware that such magic bullets work like magic only for the short duration when the pathogen has not yet developed resistance. Hence I shall show how consumption of ancillary molecules together with the magic bullet molecule may be important for (a) greater potency in synergy combinations, (b) improved pharmacokinetics and (c) for delaying the advent of drug resistance.