Oil spill's environmental consequences to outlast Katrina's

Management system helps pharmacists get back to patient care

Final push aimed at student support

Student focus

Faculty focus

Pharmacy Matters Home


Researchers travel to Geneva to discuss antimalarial
discovery plans

Malaria, one of the world’s most widespread infectious diseases, takes the lives of almost 1 million people a year. UM researchers have been working for more than 20 years on antimalarial drugs in hopes of developing one that will save some of those lives.Larry Walker

This month they travel to Geneva, Switzerland, to present some of the research team’s work to the Expert Scientific Advisory Committee of the Medicines for Malaria Venture in hopes of winning continued funding for the project.

Led by Larry Walker, the research is aimed at reducing the toxicity of the malaria drug primaquine. For 50 years, primaquine has been the only drug available for the treatment and prevention of relapsing malaria, but the drug causes side effects to some individuals who have an enzyme deficiency.

 “We’re trying to make it better, safer and more effective,” said Walker, director of the National Center for Natural Products Research. “Our consortium put in five proposals to MMV (Medicines for Malaria Venture), and three of those were short-listed for more detailed presentations in Geneva because they were viewed as exciting. Another project for Cumberland Emerging Technologies that we helped with is centered on a related drug, and it was also selected.”

Cumberland Emerging Technologies, a subsidiary of Nashville-based Cumberland Pharmaceuticals, works with universities to bring promising compounds through the development process and on to commercialization. Leo Pavliv, who heads product development and operations for CET and Cumberland Pharmaceuticals, is accompanying Walker and UM Principal Research Scientist Babu Tekwani to Geneva.

The mission of the Medicines for Malaria Venture is to reduce the burden of malaria in disease-endemic countries by discovering new and effective antimalarial drugs.

 “MMV has the best resources and contacts required for clinical development of antimalarial drugs,” Tekwani said. “The partnership with MMV shall expedite our efforts for taking the antimalarial drug discovery program from bench-side (discovery) to bedside (clinical use).”
For more information on the School of Pharmacy, visit www.pharmacy.olemiss.edu.