The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $15.11 million to an international consortium of researchers, led by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill scientist, to develop new drugs to fight African sleeping sickness and leishmaniasis -- two diseases that are killing and infecting millions of people in developing nations.
The five-year grant brings together some of the world's top experts in drug development and delivery to target two common parasitic diseases: African trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness, and leishmaniasis.
Dr. Richard R. Tidwell, a professor in UNC-Chapel Hill's schools of medicine and pharmacy, is principal investigator for the project, which involves a consortium of more than a dozen faculty and scientists from UNC-CH, Georgia State University, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Ohio State University, the Swiss Tropical Institute, the Kenya Trypanosomiasis Research Institute and Immtech International Inc.
"We are proud of the leadership role that Dr. Tidwell and his colleagues have been selected to play in the international battle against two insidious diseases that have caused so much pain, suffering and despair," said UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser. "This generous grant will enable an impressive array of collaborators from academia, government and the private sector to conduct research that, through the successful development of new drug therapies, can dramatically improve people's lives."
The grant will fill a critical void in research funding for the two tropical diseases, Tidwell said.
"Although the pharmaceutical industry has made efforts to help fight these diseases by donating drugs and money, it cannot dedicate the research funds or technical resources necessary to search for new, more effective drugs," he said. "In the competitive marketplace, major pharmaceutical companies must concentrate on high-profile diseases with more potential for profits. This grant will create a wor
Contact: Mike McFarland
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill