News Release

Advancement in drug therapies may provide new treatment for Cutaneous leishmaniasis

Syrian conflict has led to an increased number of cases, spread to neighboring countries

Peer-Reviewed Publication


Advancement in Drug Therapies May Provide New Treatment Options for Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Patients

image: "Confocal microscopy on L. tropica infected macrophages treated with 0.1 μM of Imiquimod or EAPB0503 for 10h." view more 

Credit: Hajj, <em>et al.</em> (2018)

Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a parasitic infection caused by Leishmania parasite. CL cases have increased dramatically in Syria and neighboring countries due to conflict-related displacement of Syrians. A study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases by Rana El Hajj at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon describes the development of a novel immunomodulatory analog that may be an effective treatment of CL.

Currently used therapies against CL may lead to partial or complete cure. However, they associate with many limitations, including repetitive painful injections, lack of availability, expensive cost, and emergence of resistant strains. Furthermore, their efficacy remains hindered by the patient's age and immune system. Researchers investigated the pre-clinical efficacy of an immunomodulatory drug, Imiquimod and one of its analogs, EAPB0503 on two strains (Leishmania major and Leishmania tropica) causing CL in the Middle East Area. They also tested these drugs on freshly isolated parasites from patients' biopsies and proved their leishmanicidal potency.

According to the authors, "Our findings establish Imiquimod as a strong candidate for treating L. tropica and show the higher potency of its analog EAPB0503 against CL". Their research is a promising advancement for the development of effective therapies for CL.


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Citation: El Hajj R, Bou Youness H, Lachaud L, Bastien P, Masquefa C, et al. (2018) EAPB0503: An Imiquimod analog with potent in vitro activity against cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania major and Leishmania tropica. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 12(11): e0006854.

Funding: This work is supported by the American University of Beirut, CNRS-Cèdre. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared no competing interests exist.

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