Chagas Disease. A neglected disease of neglected people.

Chagas disease is a chronic, systemic, parasitic infection caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, which was discovered in 1909. Recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the world’s 13 most neglected tropical diseases, is considered endemic in all countries of South America except those in Caribbean, Central America and the Southern United States. 

Treatment Options

Although disease has been identified and described for more than 100 years, the therapeutic alternatives are limited: benznidazole and nifurtimox are the only 2 drugs available for treatment. 

Treatment is effective during the acute stage of the infection. Different studies show that approximately 60-85% of parasitological cure is achieved in treated patients. During chronic phase it is not so clear. (Caryn Bern, 2011)

Both benznidazole and nifurtimox have frequent side effects, especially in adults, requiring up to 30% of cases to discontinue the medication. 

The coordinator of this proposal, HUVH; led the first clinical trial with this new treatment (posaconazole). One of the main drawbacks of this promising alternative is its high cost (albaconazole it is not still commercialized).

 

Innovation on Nanotechnology

New developments in innovation based on lipid nanoformulations would alleviate the limitations of current Chagas treatments. The new formulations obtained under the scope of BERENICE are expected to improve the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of actual Chagas disease therapies by decreasing the total dose of drug used, minimizing the toxicity profile, reducing the appearance of resistance and, increasing the tissue concentration. Furthermore we endeavour to increase the Chagas cure rate up to 10 times with a lower cost, by using these new formulations.