Dr Elsemani Widaa is a surgeon from the Mycetoma Research Centre, Sudan, which is the country’s treatment reference centre for patients’ suffering from the disease. He has worked at the Centre for over two years, and even in this short period of time, he has seen and treated hundreds of patients. The challenges that doctors face in treating mycetoma are many, the most serious of which problem is the fact that the only available drug for treating the fungal form of the disease (eumycetoma) is toxic and ultimately ineffective, but currently, it is all there is.
‘Every time I give a patient the treatment, in my mind I know that there is a high chance it might not work. I know they will keep on coming for many years but might never fully recover. This is really sad’, explains Dr Widaa.
The Mycetoma Research Centre will be the site for a clinical trial by Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative in collaboration with Eisai, a Japanese pharmaceutical company, to test a drug called fosravuconazole. The trial aims to begin in early 2016.
Thinking of the prospects of a better treatment for his patients, Dr Widaa considers his patients. ‘I would like to be able to look into the eyes of my mycetoma patient and know that there is hope that they could actually get better’, he concludes.