Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

BIOMALPAR — Result In Brief

Project ID: 503578
Funded under: FP6-LIFESCIHEALTH
Country: France

Europe launches a new offensive against malaria

European funding is launching a major research attack on its old enemy, malaria. Channelling resources into an integrated initiative with African countries, the new strategy involves unravelling the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis.
Europe launches a new offensive against malaria
Malaria still ranks as one of the world's largest reasons for mortality. Killing a child every 30 seconds, malaria is threatening to become even more of a problem, moving into eastern Europe and presenting obstacles to current therapies due to drug and insecticide-resistant mosquitoes.

The answer to all these barriers is to attack the parasite where it hurts, at the genomic level, with integrated state-of-the-art research facilities. Putting European malaria research into the number one slot in the world, the EU-funded 'Biology and pathology of the malaria parasite' (Biomalpar) project has organised a major integrated research initiative.

Seventeen European research centres joined forces with three African partners from Mali, Sudan and Uganda, all malaria-endemic regions. The integrated effort has capitalised on the recent characterisation of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium species and their hosts. Biomalpar aimed to identify the pathogenesis and parasite-specific biochemical cascades from a molecular perspective.

Biomalpar has created transparency in the malaria research arena by increasing networking and improving coordination in new collaborative projects encouraged by the new initiative. An increase in education spending has trained a complete new generation in the molecular biology of the malaria parasite.

On a purely research level, Biomalpar has discovered new molecules that are potential targets for new drug therapies and further research is being supported by international grants. Other compounds show promise as the basis for vaccine development.

Europe is now recognised as occupying centre stage in malaria research globally. Biomalpar aims to continue its research into the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to find sustainable answers to malaria, building on the foundations achieved in FP6. The ultimate goal of the consortium is to open a European malaria research establishment and a virtual malaria institute to reach geographically isolated facilities, so often the case with this disease.

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