In vitro and in vivo experimental models for drug screening and development for Chagas disease

by Romanha AJ, de Castro SL, de Nazaré Correia Soeiro M, Lannes-Vieira J, Ribeiro I, Talvani A, Bourdin B, Blum B, Olivieri B, Zani C, Spadafora C, Chiari E, Chatelain E, Chaves G, Calzada JE, Bustamante JM, Freitas-Junior LH, Romero LI, Bahia MT, Lotrowska M, Soares M, Andrade SG, Armstrong T, Degrave W, de Araújo Andrade Z. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz, March 2010, 105(2):233-238.

Summary: Although the occurrence of acute cases of Chagas disease has declined, there still remain serious challenges, including the maintenance of sustainable public policies for Chagas disease control and the urgent need for better drugs to treat chagasic patients. Since the introduction of benznidazole and nifurtimox approximately 40 years ago, many natural and synthetic compounds have been assayed against Trypanosoma cruzi, yet only a few compounds have advanced to clinical trials. The development of more effective drugs requires (i) the identification and validation of parasite targets, (ii) compounds to be screened against the targets or the whole parasite and (iii) a panel of minimum standardised procedures to advance leading compounds to clinical trials. This third aim was the topic of a workshop held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in November 2008: the minimum steps, requirements and decision gates for the determination of the efficacy of novel drugs for T. cruzi control were evaluated by interdisciplinary experts and an in vitro and in vivo flowchart was designed to serve as a general and standardised protocol for screening potential drugs for the treatment of Chagas disease.

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