The COMSTECH and the NTD NETWORK virtual lecture programme, launched June 2021, provides live webinars in skills needed for research into Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and draws upon expertise from both our Networks.
These talks are aimed at academics, professional scientists and interested members of the general public from Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states and offer opportunities for specialists in Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) to gain or enhance their knowledge, skills, and academic connections.
This page lists the latest webinar and links to recordings of the previous talks, all hosted on the COMSTECH website. Read about the backgrond to our decision to launch this collaborative training programme, here.
27th September 2021, 2:30pm Pakistan Standard Time; 10:30am UK (BST)
Identifying and validating new drug targets for Neglected Tropical Diseases
COMSTECH website link for this event: https://www.comstech.org/comstech-ntd-joint-lecture-3/
Please register to attend this meeting: https://forms.gle/LaRnELNEZ9K9u6Ai8
The protozoan kinetoplastid parasites Leishmania spp, Trypanosoma brucei and Trypanosoma cruzi are responsible for potentially fatal diseases that affect over 22 million people worldwide, with an estimated 450 million people at risk. Current therapies are expensive and not widely accessible. In addition, drug toxicity and emerging resistance are major concerns and there is a major need for new tractable drug targets. In this presentation, I will describe examples of phenotypic and target-based approaches towards the discovery of new leishmanial drug targets and the identification of tractable chemical starting points for future drug discovery programmes. For the former, we have used a natural chalcone, with antileishmanial properties, as a starting point to develop and apply probes to identify the molecular target. In the second, target-based, strategy, we have identified the essential kinetoplastid sphingolipid synthase (SLS) as an attractive pharmaceutical target due to the divergence of function compared with the mammalian orthologous. We have developed screening assays to identify potential inhibitors against the Leishmania major enzyme. One assay identified the OTC antihistamine clemastine fumarate as a potential antileishmanial and I will discuss our efforts to validate and exploit this finding.
6th August 2021, 2:30pm Pakistan Standard Time; 10:30am UK (BST)
Protozoan ‘Drug’ Discovery: Old Drugs, New Targets and Mining for Novelty
Professor of Parasitology, Centre for Global Infectious Diseases, Department of Biological Sciences, Durham University, United Kingdom
COMSTECH website link for this event: https://www.comstech.org/comstech-ntd-network-protozoan/
Watch the recording on Youtube:
Parasitic diseases of humans and livestock remain a worldwide problem. Leishmaniasis impacts both health and economics and drains resources that could be used to promote development. Improving control of this disease would have profound benefits for human health, aid in wealth creation, and enhance quality of life. With no vaccine currently available for use in humans, chemotherapy remains the primary method of intervention, however current drugs are inadequate. New drugs are needed and whilst several promising candidates are in early phase clinical trials, gaining deeper insights into protozoan biology is crucial for supporting drug discovery efforts.
This presentation will focus on the characterisation of protozoan sphingolipid biosynthesis and the identification of novel antimicrobial targets within both the Kinetoplastidae and the Apicomplexa. Furthermore, Insights into the inhibitors of Leishmania sphingolipid biosynthesis and projects designed to elucidate new antileishmanial drug targets will be discussed.
25 June, 2021, 2:00pm Pakistan Standard Time; 10:00am UK (BST)
CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing of Leishmania and Drug Target Validation
Professor of Pathogen Biology, York Biomedical Research Institute, University of York, United Kingdom
COMSTECH website link for this event: https://www.comstech.org/crispr-cas9/