At VinUniversity, with the direction of applying scientific research to serve humanity, Prof. Huynh Dinh Chien (main author) and colleagues of an international research team including Dr. Phillip Low of Purdue University (USA) and Prof. Francesco Turrini from the University of Turin (Italy) have conducted research and clinical trials on coadministration of imatinib (a treatment drug for some types of cancers) with standard of care (SOC) for patients experiencing delayed parasite clearance (DPC) in Quang Tri Province, located close to the Vietnam-Laos border. Clinical trials show that the treatment enables clearance of all malaria parasites from 90% of patients within 48 hours and from 100% of patients within three days. The patients receiving Imatinib+SOC treatment were also relieved of their fevers in less than half of the time experienced by similar patients treated with the standard therapy.
The results of the clinical trials were published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, the leading scientific journal in the top 2% of the world’s most influential scientific journals with an IF index of 13.407. It also ranks 4th globally in the category of Medicine, Research & Experimental. An international priority patent application has been filed in Vietnam by VinUniversity (Vietnam), Purdue Research Foundation (USA), University of Sassari, and the company NUREX SRL (Italy).
This impressive result is of significance for millions of malaria patients and their families globally. “We will transfer this technology to any company that commits to distribute the drug to malaria-prone regions. The most important concern is patient access to the drug, not profit ”, said Prof. Chien.
Malaria is one of the most common infectious diseases and a very serious public health problem. According to Nadjim (2012), in severe cases, mortality rates can reach as high as 20% within a few hours or days even after intensive care and treatment, according to research published in Infectious Disease Clinics of North America. According to WHO, there are approximately 228 millions people infected and more than 400,000 deaths annually. Malaria is often associated with poverty and lagging progress, and is a major obstacle to socio-economic development in many countries.
At present, malaria combination therapy using drugs containing artemisinin or artemisinin derivatives is the common treatment for most strains of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. However, the drug resistance of the strain is increasing, especially in Southeast Asian countries. Therefore, the research of Professor Huynh Dinh Chien and colleagues is of great significance for finding a more effective treatment for malaria.
Read more at:
1. Huynh Dinh Chien, Antonella Pantaleo, Kristina R. Kesely, Panae Noomuna, Karson S. Putt, Tran Anh Tuan, Philip S. Low, Francesco M. Turrini (2021). “Imatinib augments standard malaria combination therapy without added toxicity”. J Exp Med 218 (10): e20210724. https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.20210724.
2. Conrad, M.D., and P.J. Rosenthal. 2019. Antimalarial drug resistance in Africa: the calm before the storm? Lancet Infect. Dis. 19:e338–e351. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(19)30261-0.
3. Nadjm B, Behrens RH (2012). “Malaria: An update for physicians”. Infectious Disease Clinics of North America. 26 (2): 243–59. doi:10.1016/j.idc.2012.03.010. PMID 22632637.
4. Snow RW, Guerra CA, Noor AM, Myint HY, Hay SI (2005). “The global distribution of clinical episodes of Plasmodium falciparum malaria”. Nature. 434 (7030): 214–7. doi:10.1038/nature03342. PMID 15759000.
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