Funding Boost in our Battle Against Tropical Disease

York’s work at the forefront of a worldwide drive against leishmaniasis, one of the world’s most lethal tropical diseases, has reached an important milestone thanks to a major funding boost.

350 million people are at risk of contracting leishmaniasis, a disease that kills over 20,000 people every year and leaves hundreds of thousands with stigmatising scars.”

Professor Jeremy Mottram Department of Biology

Already supported by the Wellcome Trust, the Holbeck Charitable Trust, the Wolfson Foundation and the Medical Research Council, our studies into leishmaniasis will also now benefit from grants from the UK government’s new Global Challenges Research Fund. Spread by sand flies, leishmaniasis is often fatal and affects the lives of hundreds of thousands in some of the poorest areas of the developing world. The new funding will support research to examine why some strains of the parasite found in Brazil are resistant to the only available oral drug used to treat the condition.

A second project will explore why people respond differently to treatment across different countries.

It will also introduce internet-based ‘digital pathology’ to share clinical data between countries. Paul Kaye, Professor of Immunology at Hull York Medical School, said: “By understanding why some patients respond to treatment and others do not, we can make better use of the drugs we have available and reduce the costs and suffering associated with treatment failures.”

The research projects involve collaborations with international partners including the Federal University of Piauí and the University of São Paulo in Brazil, the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in Sri Lanka, and the Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (IPGMER) in India.