Setareh Jahandideh

Iran participates in international project for treating Leishmaniasis

February 16, 2019

TEHRAN- Tehran University of Medical Science is going to cooperate with world-renowned universities in an international project for treatment of Leishmaniasis with a newly-formulated oral medication. 

This project is a collaboration between Tehran University of Medical Sciences and five other research centers from England, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, the director of Iran’s National Research Center for Leishmaniasis said in an interview with the Tehran Times on Saturday. 

According to Dr. Ali Khamesipour, the consortium includes St George's University of London, Oblita Therapeutics health research & development company, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Medisize Medical Business Beheer B.V. and Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen. 

The project is funded by Horizon 2020. The consortium had asked €4,498,722, €3,700,000 was accepted and Iran’s share is around €370,000, Dr. Khamesipour further explained. 

Horizen 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years. 

The project aims to examine the newly-formulated version of Miltefosine first in-vitro and then in-vivo environments and hopefully its efficacy will be ensured. 
According to Dr. Khamesipour, the research is aimed at revising the formula of Miltefosine, the medication currently used for treatment of Visceral leishmaniasis. 

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), also known as kala-azar black fever is the most severe form of leishmaniasis and, without proper diagnosis and treatment, is associated with high fatality.

“The current version of Miltefosine has serious side effects and patients have recently showed signs of residence to the drug, so it was decided to develop a new version of the medicine,” said Khamesipour. 

“The project aims to examine the newly-formulated version of Miltefosine first in-vitro and then in-vivo environments and hopefully its efficacy will be ensured,” he said.  

According to him, the medicine could also affect Cutaneous leishmaniasis. 

Cutaneous leishmaniasis, also known as oriental sore, is the most common form of leishmaniasis affecting humans. It is a skin infection caused by a single-celled parasite that is transmitted by the bite of a phlebotomine sandfly.

Dr. Khamesipour further explained that a medication for Cutaneous leishmaniasis, called nanoliposomal Amphotericin B, has already been produced in Iran in a collaboration between Medical Science University of Tehran and Mashhad Nanotechnology Center. 

Khamesipour finally noted that the project is likely to finish in two years. 

According to World Health Organization, the leishmaniases are a group of diseases that affect some of the poorest people on earth. They are associated with malnutrition, population misplacement, poor housing, a weak immune system and lack of resources for their control and treatment.

SJ/MQ/MG

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