Allegedly, the drugs that are currently used in the treatment of Chagas disease—which is an infectious disease caused by the parasite Trypansosoma cruzi—have severe side effects and restricted use in those having a chronic disease. The scientists have stated that memantine—a drug presently used to cure Alzheimer’s disease—can reduce variety of parasites in mice with Chagas disease and augment the odds of survival in the animals. Reportedly, Chagas disease affects 5–6 Million people across the U.S. The disease can be categorized into chronic and acute phases, with the clinical stage leading to esophagus, heart, or intestinal symptoms. The research was published in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Two drugs have been used to cure Chagas for the past 50 Years—benznidazole and nifurtimox—are highly efficient in the acute phase but are utilized cautiously in the chronic phase owing to severe side effects that takes place with long-term treatment. Ariel M. Silber—from Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil—along with colleagues analyzed memantine that functions on the central nervous system of animals and also is known to kill protozoa. The scientists first analyzed the impact of various concentrations of memantine on cultivated macrophages—which is a type of WBC (white blood cell)—that were infected with T. cruzi. The team discovered that memantine decreased the variety of T. cruzi-diseased macrophages in a dose-reliant method and more drugs caused to a higher lessening in the infection.
On a similar note, recently, researchers identified how the exosomes of the parasite are responsible for Chagas disease that affects heart cells. This is a serious parasitic disease that impacts over 8 Million people across the globe and for which there is presently no treatment. A team of researchers from the UGR (University of Granada) has successfully identified the mechanism in which exosomes (extracellular nanovesicles) discharged by the parasite are liable for the disease attack heart cells, therefore causing one of its most common complications, cardiac disease.