Combating Mosquito-Borne Lymphatic Filariasis with Genomics Technologies: Enabling Novel Drug Discovery for Neglected Tropical Diseases

Author(s): Mohd Shahab, Shailja Misra-Bhattacharya

Journal Name: Current Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Medicine
Formerly Current Pharmacogenomics

Volume 10 , Issue 2 , 2012

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While the personalized medicine literature has hitherto focused on diseases in developed countries, little discussion has materialized on ways in which genomics can importantly remedy highly prevalent diseases in developing countries. This paper aims to address this important lacuna in the biomedical literature—what we refer to herein as “developing world genomics” that needs recognition as an emerging subspecialty of global personalized medicine. We direct our attention on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), a group of high prevalence chronic parasitic and related infections that affect the world's poorest people. Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a mosquito-borne NTD caused by thread like lymphatic-dwelling nematode and causes significant disability as well as loss of productivity in developing nations. The sustainability of the ongoing efforts for vector control and chemotherapy are uncertain and new drugs are required in the absence of an adulticidal drug while some mainstay drugs are threatened with drug resistance. In this paper, we share and synthesize research findings focussed on Wolbachia, the endosymbiont bacteria of filarial parasites, which itself is a promising target for the development of personalized drugs or customized vaccines as it contributes to the normal functioning of the parasites. We analyze the recent advances in parasite and Wolbachial genomics to highlight potential applications of genomic technologies for targeted drug discovery and personalized therapeutics for this NTD with a vast burden on the global public health. Comparative genomic approaches should also be valuable for exploring genetic changes involved in resistance to antifilarial drugs and understanding the potential mechanisms of drug resistance in human parasites.

Keywords: Anti-filarial drugs, developing world genomics, functional genomics, lymphatic filariasis, Brugia, Wuchereria, Wolbachia, personalized therapeutics

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Article Details

Year: 2012
Published on: 11 May, 2012
Page: [148 - 158]
Pages: 11
DOI: 10.2174/187569212800626421
Price: $25

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