Tübingen leads clinical trial for the development of a new Malaria drug
The Tübingen Institute for Tropical Medicine is project coordinator for the clinical development of a new combinational therapy against Malaria
The Institute for Tropical Medicine, Travel Medicine and Human Parasitology of the University Hospital Tübingen is leading a project for the development of a novel combinational therapy against Malaria funded by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). The EDCTP is funding the project named „SINDOFO“ with 9.8 million Euro over a period of five years in which two substances, Ferroquine and MMV253, are being combined for the first time. The research consortium consists of four African and three European partners and is led by Tübingen under the management of Dr. Jana Held, research group leader at the Institute for Tropical Medicine.
With an estimated number of 229 million infections and 409,000 deaths worldwide in 2019, Malaria is one of the most dangerous infectious diseases. It is caused by parasites transmitted to humans through the bites of infected female mosquitos. Children under the age of five are the most vulnerable group who are affected by Malaria; 67 percent (274,000) of all Malaria related deaths worldwide are accounted to this group in 2019. Therefore, the study aims to develop a new malaria drug combination with a shortened regimen to protect the group that is most threatened by a severe malaria course: children under the age of five from sub-Sahara Africa.
„Through the combined use of the malaria drugs Ferroquine and MMV253 we take advantage of their different mode of actions. Ferroquine belongs to the same group as the well-known malaria drug chloroquine but having the great advantage of being effective against chloroquine resistant malaria strains. From MMV253, which belongs to triaminopyrimidines substance class, we expect a rapid onset of action decreasing rapidly the parasite load.”, explains Dr. Held the different effects of the two drugs. Ferroquine, however, has a relatively long half-life and remains in the patient for up to 40 days. "This holds great potential for a prophylactic effect after treatment." Dr. Held goes on to explain.
The clinical trial will be conducted in different regions of the African continent, Burkina Faso (West Africa), Gabon (Central Africa), Mozambique (Southern Africa) and Kenya (East Africa), which are malaria endemic areas. This is important because in this way the drugs are developed right away for the target group concerned, young children in the various endemic areas in Africa.
The consortium includes the not-for-profit product development partnership Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), based in Switzerland. It focuses on malaria drug development and provides regulatory support for the project. The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), together with the Centre de recherches médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL), Gabon will be responsible for capacity building activities. This means above all measures for the development of the infrastructure and its sustainable maintenance for the implementation of clinical studies in the African study sites and the training of trained personnel.
Together with the development of vaccines, therapeutics are the most important means of combating malaria. For example, in a recent study, the Institute of Tropical Medicine demonstrated the high efficacy of a specially developed malaria vaccine (Nature Communications 2021, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-22740-w).
The participating consortium partners are:
1- Institute of Tropical Medicine - University Hospital Tübingen (coordinator).
2- Clinical Research Unit of Nanoro (CNRST-IRSS), Burkina Faso
3- Centre de recherches médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL), Gabon
4- Ahero Clinical Trials Unit-Kisumu - Strathmore University, Kenya
5- Fundação Manhiça - Centro de Investigaçao em Saude de Manhiça (FM-CISM), Mozambique
6- Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), Spain
7- Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), Switzerland
University Hospital Tübingen
Internal Medicine VII
Institute for Tropical Medicine, Travel Medicine, Human Parasitology
Dr. Jana Held
Wilhelmstraße 27, 72074 Tübingen
Tel. +49 7071 29- 85547