Nisha Jain Garg, PhD, Professor, Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Pathology, University of Texas Medical and M Paola Zago, PhD, Instituto de Patología Experimental, Universidad Nacional de Salta (UNSa)-CONICET, Salta, Argentina.
Chagas disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, continues to pose a serious threat to health in Latin America and Mexico, and is the most important emerging parasitic disease in developed countries. According to the WHO report released in 2010, the overall prevalence of human T. cruzi infection is at ~16-18 million cases, and ~120 million people, i.e., 25% of the inhabitants of Latin America, are at risk of infection. Of those infected, 30-40% progress to irreversible cardiomyopathy several years afterwards, resulting in considerable morbidity and mortality. Recent implementation of donor screening for T. cruzi infection by the American Red Cross and other blood banks across the US highlights the urgent need for clinicians, researchers and public health professionals to understand Chagas disease, and its diagnosis and treatment. Benznidazole and nifurtimox can be used to treat acutely infected patients; however, these drugs exhibit high toxicity in adults, and are ineffective in arresting or reversing the progression of chronic cardiomyopathy. The US Government, NIH, CDC and other organizations increasingly recognize Chagas as a neglected emergency, as no vaccine and safe drugs are available for the prevention and treatment of chronic Chagas disease. Importantly, currently we have no tools to evaluate the efficacy of new drugs against T. cruzi infection or Chagas disease. It is crucial that biomarkers and molecular pathways are identified that could classify disease state, detect asymptomatic individuals who are at risk of developing chagasic dilated cardiomyopathy, and new therapies to arrest or prevent the progression of symptomatic clinical disease as well as tools to assess the efficacy of new therapies are developed.
In this study, we propose to develop PBMC (peripheral blood mononuclear cells) oxidative proteome in chagasic patients.