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Student wins British Council Award

  • May 2006: The inspirational story of Lancaster University student Akanimo Odon has earned the 26-year-old Nigerian the title of International Student of the Year 2006 in the British Council’s annual ‘Shine’ ... see this storymore

Cast Iron Sculptures on Campus

  • May 2006: Charles Hadcock, Sesqui, 2002, cast iron © the artist A series of monumental cast iron sculptures by Charles Hadcock are currently on display in Lancaster University grounds. ... see this storymore

Cast Iron Sculptures on Campus

  • Apr 2006: Charles Hadcock, Sesqui, 2002, cast iron © the artist A series of monumental cast iron sculptures by Charles Hadcock are currently on display in Lancaster University grounds. ... see this storymore

First Honorary Fellowships awarded

  • May 2006: Lancaster University’s Chancellor, Sir Christian Bonington CBE DL, conferred the first Honorary Fellowships on six people who have given distinguished service to the University or its region. M ... see this storymore

Environmental Science Student Scoops Award

  • Apr 2006: A Lancaster University student has met the Prime Minister after winning the North West round of the prestigious British Council International Student Awards. Nigerian-born Akanimo Odon, a PhD s ... see this storymore

Organic nitrogen gives new clue to biodiversity

  • Apr 2006: Haymeadow in Ravenstonedale Scientists at Lancaster University have found that organic nitrogen is more important for plant growth than previously thought and could contribute to m ... see this storymore

Award for Geography Lecturer

  • May 2006: Dr Gordon Clark (Geography) has been awarded the Royal Geographical Society’s Taylor and Francis Award for 2006.  This award recognises “excellence in the promotion and practice of teaching a ... see this storymore

Funding to refine clean-up technique

  • May 2006: Lancaster University has been awarded funding for a PhD student to help develop better methods of cleaning up polluted soil. The funding, worth around £60,000, has been awarded by the Natural E ... see this storymore

Celebrating Creative Arts with Lancaster University

  • May 2006: Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake is the venue for an exciting new festival celebrating the creative arts, being run jointly with Lancaster University later this month.   The Creative A ... see this storymore

Nowgen Centre

  • May 2006: The Nowgen Centre, the new multi-million pound, Manchester-based centre for genetics in healthcare and home of the North West Genetics Knowledge Park, was officially opened on 25 April by Dr ... see this storymore

Organic nitrogen gives new clue to biodiversity

  • May 2006: Haymeadow in Ravenstonedale Scientists at Lancaster University have found that organic nitrogen is more important for plant growth than previously thought and could contribute to m ... see this storymore

New chair to pioneer hospice research

  • May 2006: Lancaster University has been awarded funding to create a new Chair in Hospice Studies. The chair, which is the first full time post of its kind in the UK, will be supported over five years b ... see this storymore

Director appointed to new Arts Institute

  • May 2006: Professor Rachel Cooper The Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA) has appointed its first director. Professor Rachel Cooper – currently Director of the Adelphi Rese ... see this storymore

African Sleeping Sickness BreakthroughPrinter: link to friendly page

Ablation of flagellar proteins in African sleeping sickness parasite; monstrous cells arise (main pic) & rapidly die as parasites fail to divide - Inset: normal trypanosome for comparison not to scale
Ablation of flagellar proteins in African sleeping sickness parasite; monstrous cells arise (main pic) & rapidly die as parasites fail to divide - Inset: normal trypanosome for comparison not to scale

Researchers have made a crucial breakthrough in the journey towards finding a treatment for African Sleeping Sickness.

The team of researchers from Lancaster, Oxford and Manchester Universities have discovered a weakness in the parasite that causes the disease - it cannot survive in the human bloodstream without the use of its flagellum, a protein 'tail' that allows it to swim.

This unexpected discovery offers up a valuable lead in the search for new drugs to control the killer disease.

The study is published this week (March 9) in the leading scientific journal Nature.

The sleeping sickness parasite, Trypanosoma brucei, is a single-celled organism equipped with a whip-like tail or flagellum.  The parasite initially lives in the bloodstream of the human host causing fever and headaches, but eventually crosses into the brain where it causes irreversible neurological damage.  Without treatment, the disease is fatal.

According to the latest figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO), African Sleeping sickness threatens over 60 million people in 36 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. The number of new cases per year is estimated to be between 300,000 to 500,000 with at least 60,000 people dying annually from the disease.

Until now doctors have struggled to treat the disease as most of the drugs currently used to combat this disease have undesirable side-effects and parasites are beginning to show evidence of increasing drug resistance. Furthermore there is little hope of a vaccine.

 

 

Dr Richard Broadhead and Dr Paul McKean
Dr Richard Broadhead and Dr Paul McKean
Lancaster University Biologist Dr Paul McKean said: “In this study we describe, for the first time, a full catalogue of the proteins required to build the trypanosome flagellum (the sleeping sickness parasite’s tail).

 “We also show that many of these proteins are specific to the trypanosome flagellum. This latter finding is of critical importance since we also show that flagellum function is essential to the survival of bloodstream trypanosomes. These two observations raise the possibility that the flagellum may represent a novel target for the development of new drugs against this important medical pathogen.”

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