Category: Disease

Malaria research: Scientist industry urged to not underestimate CRISPR’s risks

By IGHI guest blogger Chanice Henry, Editor, Pharma IQ & Pharma Logistics IQ

Similar to new Hollywood feature Rampage, a recent study has urged the life sciences industry not to underestimate the dangers that could hide within CRISPR Cas9.

Although the film has been criticised for wildly exaggerating the capabilities of the gene editing technique, it can be recognised for its effort to draw focus from the excitable buzz around CRISPR Cas9 towards the importance of considering the ethics and dangers associated with the tool.

A recent commentary piece also emphasised the importance of methodically debating the potential outcomes of CRISPR within the task of tackling Malaria.

Discovering the medicines of tomorrow: Four lessons from failed Alzheimer’s research

By guest blogger Chanice Henry, Editor, Pharma IQ

Even though drug development for Alzheimer’s Disease has a steep failure rate, the lessons learned from failed trials are of great benefit to future research.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia – the irreversible loss of memory and other cognitive functions which eventually makes daily tasks unmanageable.

As the life expectancy of the world’s population grows, the Alzheimer’s is becoming more common. Estimates suggest that  the number of affected US patients will climb from 5.3 million to almost 14 million by 2050.

In the fight against this disease many have dedicated their careers to revolutionise how the neurodegenerative disease is diagnosed and handled.

Combining diverse expertise – Imperial College Network of Excellence in Malaria

By Dr Aubrey Cunnington, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Dr Jake Baum, Reader in Parasite Cell Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London 

WHO/S. Hollyman

World Malaria Day is a good time to reflect on successes in the fight against malaria and the enormous challenges that still lie ahead. Malaria is a mosquito-transmitted parasitic disease, which causes illness ranging from severe flu-like symptoms to coma and death. Those at greatest risk are small children and pregnant women. It is an ancient enemy of mankind, and has exerted a powerful influence on our evolution.

Malaria in 2017 – “It is too soon to be complacent”

By Professor Kathryn Maitland, Professor of Tropical Paediatric Infectious Diseases, Director of Centre for African Research and Engagement, Imperial College London 

Approximately 1200 African children are estimated to die from malaria every day, accounting for the vast majority of the global deaths from this disease. Over the past decade there has been an unprecedented increase in funding for malaria-control activities and vaccine development – the two major tools in ‘Roll back Malaria’ prevention and elimination programme. This has resulted in major scaling-up in the distribution of bed nets treated with long-lasting insecticides and public-private funding for late phase multi-site trials of the most promising anti-malaria vaccine candidate developed to date (RTS,S).

Engaging with a public engagement project: Understanding TB from the experiences of the ill

By Bianca Masuku, Eh!woza

Eh!woza is an evolving public engagement project focused on two infectious diseases (HIV and TB) that continue to burden communities within South Africa. The initiative is based at the recently awarded Wellcome Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Africa, and the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town. Previously described on this blog, this piece provides insights into an anthropological investigation of the work of Eh!woza, as well as the personal and lived experiences of persons affected by TB throughout South African communities.

Tuberculosis in England: How research at Imperial is supporting the national strategy

By Dr Luis C. Berrocal-Almanza, Research Associate- Epidemiologist and Dr Alice Halliday, Research Associate, Imperial College London

World TB Day on 24 March commemorates the announcement by Dr Robert Koch in 1882 of his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) as the cause of tuberculosis (TB), a disease that still affects approximately 10 million people and causes 1.8 million death globally each year. The Royal Society of Medicine commemorates this day with an annual TB meeting to review the most relevant advances in clinical, public health and scientific aspects of TB, organised by Professor Ajit Lalvani of the National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London.

Kawasaki Disease: A 50 year old mystery

By Stephanie Menikou, PhD student, Faculty of Medicine

Kawasaki disease (KD) was first identified in 1967 by the Japanese paediatrician Tomisaku Kawasaki. He saw his first case in 1960 and over a period of six years he identified 50 cases of this distinct unusual illness.1 50 years later, we still don’t know its cause, or whether it is caused by an infectious organism, a toxin, a chemical substance or something else. Kawasaki disease has emerged as the most common cause of childhood heart disease in many developed countries.2 Over 60 countries around the globe have reported cases and currently in many countries it’s on the rise.

Sickle cell anaemia – a rare disease of increasing global importance

By Professor Thomas Williams, Chair in Haemoglobinopathy Research, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medicine

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is the commonest serious genetic condition of humans. The disease is caused by an inherited defect in haemoglobin, the red pigment within red cells that is important for the carriage of oxygen in the blood, and results in a life-long illness characterised by recurrent pain, ill health and chronic anaemia.