Current projects of the Lanzer group
The pathogenicity of human malaria parasites
The pioneering work of Sir Ronald Ross, demonstrating that malaria is a vector-borne disease, celebrated its centennial anniversary in 1997. More than one-hundred years later, malaria still remains a major threat to mankind, responsible for an estimated 250 million clinical cases and almost 1 million deaths annually. The malaria situation is expected to get worse as once effective weapons against this infectious disease have lost their edge. Chemotherapeutics now frequently fail due to wide spread resistance mechanisms, and insecticides, once widely used to eradicate the malaria vectors, are now disqualified because of environmental considerations. New and affordable drugs, suitable for mass application in developing countries, are not on the horizon, neither is a widely effective malaria vaccine. In order to develop sustainable means to control malaria, a better understanding of the etiological agents that cause malaria, their biology, virulence and pathogenicity is imperative.
Our objectives are to provide a better understanding of the biology, virulence and pathogenicity of malaria parasites, in an effort to develop new regimens for the treatment of this important disease. In particular, we are investigating:
- the molecular mechanisms of immune evasion and cytoadhesion and how these pathogenetic mechanisms affect the pathogenesis of the disease;
- the genesis of chloroquine drug resistance;
- mechanisms of ion homeostasis;
- the application of ionic exchangers as novel targets for rational drug development programs.
SFB 544 - Control of Infectious Diseases