Helminth Elimination Platform (HELP)
Objective: Advance existing candidates along the development pipeline to bolster the empty anthelminthic drug pipeline
Project start: 2019
The Helminth Elimination Platform (HELP) is a consortium of research institutes, universities, not-for-profit organizations, and pharmaceutical companies, formed in 2019 to develop new drugs for infections caused by parasitic worms (helminths).
Current treatments all present limitations. The current approach to eliminating helminth diseases is based on preventive chemotherapy (mass drug administration). While successful in reducing the prevalence of the disease, these programmes need to be repeated annually or bi-annually for up to 17 years because the drug only kills juvenile worms – not the adult worms, which can live for more than ten years in the human body.
The consortium‘s objective is to establish an R&D pipeline of drug candidates for treating onchocerciasis, especially in case current candidates fail in upcoming clinical trials. Moreover, it aims to establish a much-needed drug R&D pipeline to treat soil-transmitted helminth infections. For this disease, there is currently neither a drug with good efficacy against all species, nor any prospect thereof on the horizon.
News and press releases
- 28 November 2019 – Public-private partnership launched to develop new drugs for roundworm infections
Key scientific articles
Oxfendazole mediates macrofilaricidal efficacy against the filarial nematode Litomosoides sigmodontis in vivo and inhibits Onchocerca spec. motility in vitro
by Hübner MP, Martin C, Specht S, Koschel M, Dubben B, Frohberger SJ, Ehrens A, Fendler M, Struever D, Mitre E, Vallarino-Lhermitte N, Gokool S, Lustigman S, Schneider M, Townson S, Hoerauf A, Scandale I.
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Current prevention efforts are based on mass administration of a drug known as ivermectin. While highly effective in reducing transmission of the disease, the drug must be administered every year for 10 to 12 years or more because it only kills juvenile worms, and not the adults.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 815628
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