Neglected Tropical Diseases

CGH is screening our diverse chemical library against the pathogens for Neglected Tropical Diseases including:

  • Leishmaniasis (Visceral & Cutaneous) occurs in 98 countries with an estimated 700,000–1 million new cases and 20,000 to 30,000 deaths occur annually. Leishmaniasis is caused by the protozoan Leishmania parasites which are transmitted by the bite of infected female phlebotomine sandflies. This complex and diverse disease causes severe disfigurement, disability and death and is usually found in poor populations living in remote areas. Visceral leishmaniasis (also known as VL or kala-azar) affects internal organs such as the liver and spleen. VL is fatal if not treated. Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is the most common form of leishmaniasis and causes skin lesions, mainly ulcers, on exposed parts of the body, leaving life-long scars and serious disability.
  • Chagas disease results in significant disability with great social and economic impact and is endemic in 21 countries across Latin America. It is estimated that 6-7 million people are infected with T. cruzi, the disease causing parasite. This parasitic disease causes chronic pain, organ failure and death, and has been growing in non-endemic, developed countries.
  • Malaria, the leading parasitic cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, is present in over 100 countries and threatens half of the world’s population. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it is the single largest cause of death for children under the age of 5 and costs an estimated $12 billion every year.
  • Filarial Diseases, from parasitic filarial nematode worms, are transmitted to humans by blood-sucking insects. Filarial diseases are rarely fatal but can inflict immense hardship on millions of people. Lymphatic filariasis (LF, also known as elephantiasis) and onchocerciasis (also known as river blindness) cause life-long disabilities such as blindness, severe itching, dermatitis, and swollen limbs and genitals. Lymphatic filariasis is endemic in 54 countries worldwide with over 120 million people infected and onchocerciasis is endemic in 31 African countries with 37 million people infected.
  • Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites, Cryptosporidium, and is recognized as one of the most common water borne diseases in humans. Individuals with weakened immune systems (malnourished children, the elderly, patients receiving cancer chemotherapy, patients with HIV/AIDS, etc.) can develop serious, life-threatening illnesses from this infection.
  • Tuberculosis (TB) is a pandemic bacterial disease commonly affecting lungs with the vast majority of cases occurring in low- and middle-income countries. TB is the leading cause of death of people living with HIV, and multi-drug resistant TB is present in virtually all countries.
  • Kaposi Sarcoma (KS), is a multicentric angioproliferative tumor that most frequently involves the skin but may also involve lymphatic channels and lymph nodes, as well as viscera including the lungs and gastrointestinal tract. In 1872 Moritz Kaposi first described five men with aggressive “idiopathic multiple pigmented sarcomas of the skin”. KS then became identified as an indolent tumor in elderly men in the Mediterranean region; this form is now known as “classical KS”. In the 1950’s KS was found to be common in certain regions of Africa. Now classified as “endemic KS”, this variant of KS was found not only in men, but also women and children, and often followed a more aggressive clinical course. In sub-Saharan Africa, KS is the most common form of cancer in males, while in females it is the third most common cancer after cervical and breast cancer.
  • Other Infectious Diseases, including antibacterial and antiviral pathogens, such as:
    pseudomallei, Yersinia pestis, B. mallei, B. anthracis, F. tularensis, Brucella melitensis, Ebola virus, Zika virus, Marburg virus, VEEV, Chikungunya virus, Junin virus, West Nile virus, Lassa virus, and MERS.