Washington, January 23 : A researcher at the University of Navarra has discovered new compounds active for treating tuberculosis and malaria.
Esther Vicente, a PhD in chemistry, has described in her thesis the synthesis and characterisation of 65 derivatives of quinoxaline, the structure of which is similar to a number of anti-malalarial and anti-tuberculosis pharmaceutical drugs currently on the market.
Four of the molecules prepared stand out for their anti-malalarial activity, while 15 for their anti-tuberculosis activity.
Vicente's work is within the framework of the line of research of the Medicines Research and Development unit at the university, which studies new pharmaceutical drugs to combat forgotten diseases.
Her thesis involves infectious pathologies that mainly affect developing countries and cause a lot of deaths daily, including tuberculosis and malaria.
The synthesis and characterisation of the new compounds was undertaken at the Centro de Investigacion de Farmacobiologia Aplicada (CIFA) of the University of Navarra.
For evaluating the anti-malarial activity of her products, Vicente did research for five months at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK.
The anti-tuberculosis work was carried out at the Southern Research Institute of Birmingham, within the Tuberculosis Antimicrobial Acquisition and Coordinating Facility (TAACF), which is subsidised by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda (USA).
Among the conclusions of Vicente's conclusions, the author emphasises the discovery of new molecules that are more active in vitro than chloroquine, the reference pharmaceutical drug for the treatment of the malaria causing parasite that has developed resistances.
Four molecules selected for their anti-malarial activity continue to be studied in vivo at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Furthermore, in-depth studies are being carried out on the fifteen molecules selected for their anti-tuberculosis quality at the University of Illinois and the Colorado State University.
Vicente writes in her thesis that she used various computer programmes to design a theoretical model to estimate whether a compound could be potentially active, a tool that could prove to be highly useful in the design of new structures active against forgotten diseases.