ACS Infectious Diseases Explores Drug Discovery for Global Health

For people living in the developed world, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and other deadly diseases not currently wreaking havoc on their health may seem like remnants of a bygone era, stamped out by progress in medicine and hygiene. But they aren’t, says Félix Calderón, Drug Discovery Manager at GlaxoSmithKline, Tres Cantos, Madrid, Spain. In developing countries – particularly those in tropical regions – the world’s poorest people continue to suffer and die from these killers.

TB remains one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and more than 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. In 2015, 91 countries and areas had ongoing malaria transmission, but 90% of malaria cases and 92% of malaria deaths occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa, says the WHO.

Also affecting the world’s poorest people are 18 infectious diseases the WHO calls Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD):

  • Buruli ulcer
  • Chagas disease
  • Chikungunya
  • Dengue
  • Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease)
  • Echinococcosis
  • Foodborne trematodiases
  • Human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Leprosy (Hansen’s disease)
  • Lymphatic filariasis
  • Onchocerciasis (river blindness)
  • Rabies
  • Schistosomiasis
  • Soil-transmitted helminthiases
  • Taeniasis/Cysticercosis
  • Trachoma
  • Yaws (Endemic treponematoses)

Diarrheal diseases caused by pathogens and merging viruses are a concern, too, as recent etiology studies and outbreaks of Zika and Ebola have demonstrated, Calderón says.

2nd Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry for Global Health

Researching these types of diseases not only benefits the countries where they’re most commonly found, Calderón says. Changes in demographics increased travel, and climate change have made these diseases a serious global health issue.

To work toward solutions, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and the Society of Chemistry and Industry (SCI) are hosting the 2nd Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry for Global Health, June 18-20 at GlaxoSmithKline in Tres Cantos, Madrid, Spain.

The organizers’ goal is to create a forum for discussion among scientist working in the field with a focus on medicinal chemistry approaches to developing new medicines for diseases that affect global health, Calderón says. Presenters will share their latest advances in the development of new therapeutics, platforms, and collaborative models against diseases of the developing world.

ACS Infectious Diseases Special Issue “Drug Discovery for Global Health”

To celebrate the symposium and further its goals, ACS Infectious Diseases is planning a special issue on drug discovery efforts targeting infectious diseases that affect the developing world with Calderón as Guest Editor. He and Editor-in-Chief Courtney C. Aldrich encourage scientists and organizations working in the field submit a research article or perspective on this topic by November 1, 2017.

ACS Infectious Diseases is a great forum for this special issue because it’s the only journal to highlight chemistry and its role in the multidisciplinary and collaborative field of infectious disease research,” Aldrich says. “Our focus is on mechanistic and resistance studies of novel antimicrobial agents.

“I personally study TB because it is the leading cause of infectious disease mortality by a single pathogen and there has been a dearth of drug development by industry,” Aldrich says. “It is a great way to make a useful impact on global health, and it helps with my teaching responsibilities on infectious diseases in the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.”

“In addition to bringing in quality original material, I hope this special issue will give an overview of the status-quo of the field by including quality reviews, perspectives, and viewpoints of leaders in research labs and funding agencies, as well as explore business models for conducting this research,” Calderón says.

Submit your research for inclusion in the ACS Infectious Diseases Special Issue “Drug Discovery for Global Health.” SUBMISSION DEADLINE: NOVEMBER 1, 2017

If you have comments or questions for the author of this post, please e-mail: Axial@acs.org.