Current malaria therapies require strategies capable of selectively delivering drugs to cells parasitized by Plasmodium. In the study, researchers have explored the usefulness of the polymeric nanosystems AGMA1 and ISA23 as adjuvants for antimalarial drugs that selectively target the pathogen. The antimalarial activity of the polymeric salt AGMA1 was demonstrated by its inhibition of the growth of Plasmodium falciparum in vitro. The study showed that both polymers bind preferentially to Plasmodium-infected red blood cells compared to uninfected cells. Moreover, they are capable of recognising widely divergent species, such as P falciparum and Plasmodium yoelii, malaria parasites that infect humans and mice, respectively. Intraperitoneal administration of 0.8 mg/kg of chloroquine as either AGMA1 or ISA23 salts cured P yoelii-infected mice, whereas control animals treated with double doses of free drug did not survive.
Xavier Fernàndez Busquets, researcher at IN2UB and ISGlobal who led the study, explains that “these polymers, which can encapsulate antimalarial drugs, have low toxicity, high biodegradability and selective internalisation into Plasmodium-infected red blood cells targeting species as divergent as human and rodent malarias”. “Therefore —he concludes—, these polymers are promising candidates in the field of antimalarial therapy”.
P. Urbán, J. J. Valle Delgado, N. Mauro, J. Marques, A. Manfredi, M. Rottmann, E. Ranucci, P. P. Ferruti, X. Fernàndez Busquets. “Use of poly(amidoamine) drug conjugates for the delivery of antimalarials to Plasmodium”. Journal of Controlled Release, January 2014. Doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2013.12.032
Universitat de Barcelona