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iPS Cells and Malaria

iPS cells waging war against a killer disease

“Mosquitoes are smart. We have to be smarter.”– Tanzanian entomologist, Dr Prosper Chaki

The statistics are sobering. Roughly 3.2 billion people, nearly half of the world's population, risk contracting malaria. In 2015, there were approximately 214 million cases of the disease globally and an estimated 438 000 malaria fatalities. Young children and pregnant women are particularly at risk. In the time it has taken you to read this paragraph, a child has died of malaria.

At iCeMS researchers are committed to the global battle against the killer disease. State-of-the-Art iPS cell technology is the key weapon. Whilst huge steps have been taken in developing anti-malarial drugs that target the human blood cycle-stage of the disease, very few target the symptom free, earlier stage when the malarial parasites lie dormant in the liver. That is where we plan our attack.

Using groundbreaking iPS cell technology we make detailed models of the infected livers of real-life malaria patients, then, in collaboration with scientific colleagues on the ground in India, use this sophisticated method to create reliable, sustainable, effective anti-malarial drug screening tests.

The war against the disease that kills 3 000 children a day must be fought on many fronts. Here at iCeMS we have opened an entire new front in the conflict, and it is a fight we are determined to win.