DALLAS – Sept. 24, 2020 – Two studies led by UT Southwestern researchers shed light on the biology and potential vulnerabilities of schistosomes – parasitic flatworms that cause the little-known tropical disease schistosomiasis. The findings, published online today in Science, could change the course of this disease that kills up to 250,000 people a year.
A team of developmental biologists at the Morgridge Institute for Research has discovered a means by which schistosomes, parasitic worms that infect more than 200 million people in tropical climates, are able to outfox the host’s immune system.
Schistosomiasis is one of the most devastating tropical diseases in the world, second only to malaria in its prevalence. The only treatment currently used is extremely limited in its effectiveness and in who it can help. The Newmark Lab wants to develop something that protects people from being infected in the first place.