Campus News

Professor examines possible treatment for Chagas disease

Rick Tarleton, Regents and UGA Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ cellular biology department, discussed a promising treatment for Chagas disease, published in Scitech Daily.

As lead author of the study, Tarleton said he felt very optimistic about his team’s results.

“I think it has a really strong chance of being a real solution, not just a stand-in for something that works better than the drugs we currently have,” he said.

The study found that a new medication, AN15368, was 100% effective in eliminating the parasite that causes Chagas disease in mice.

“We’ve got something that is as close to effective as it can be in what is as close to a human as it could be, and there aren’t any side effects. That really de-risks it by a lot going into humans,” said Tarleton. “It doesn’t make it fail-safe, but it moves it much further along.”

The disease is most common in Latin America, particularly in low-income areas which means the previous treatment options, which requires someone to take medication for two months, are usually ineffective.

“I think most physicians in Latin America have to say, ‘We have a drug. It’s going to make you feel bad, and two months later after we finish it, we’re not really going to be able to tell you if it worked or not.’ It’s really not a good inducement to take the medication,” Tarleton said.