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Two For One: Mar 16, 2011

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A team led by Christian Doerig at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology found that a class of chemotherapy drugs also targets the parasite behind malaria. Doerig and his team report in Cellular Microbiology that a Plasmodium falciparum infection stimulates the host erythrocyte signaling pathway that includes MEK1 and PAK1 and that specific allosteric inhibitors of the MEK and PAK enzymes blocks the proliferation of P. falciparum. "The finding that allosteric MEK and PAK inhibitors have parasiticidal activity has considerable implications in strategies for antimalarial drug discovery," the authors write. "Several protein kinase inhibitors have reached the market, mostly as anticancer agents ... and MAPK pathway components (notably MEKs) are considered as attractive targets for cancer chemotherapy."

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