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Drugs in development for toxoplasmosis: advances, challenges, and current status

Authors Alday PH, Doggett JS

Received 6 July 2016

Accepted for publication 23 November 2016

Published 25 January 2017 Volume 2017:11 Pages 273—293

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DDDT.S60973

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Dragan Hrncic

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr James Janetka

P Holland Alday,1 Joseph Stone Doggett1,2

1Division of Infectious Diseases, Oregon Health & Science University, 2Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Portland, OR, USA

Abstract: Toxoplasma gondii causes fatal and debilitating brain and eye diseases. Medicines that are currently used to treat toxoplasmosis commonly have toxic side effects and require prolonged courses that range from weeks to more than a year. The need for long treatment durations and the risk of relapsing disease are in part due to the lack of efficacy against Tgondii tissue cysts. The challenges for developing a more effective treatment for toxoplasmosis include decreasing toxicity, achieving therapeutic concentrations in the brain and eye, shortening duration, eliminating tissue cysts from the host, safety in pregnancy, and creating a formulation that is inexpensive and practical for use in resource-poor areas of the world. Over the last decade, significant progress has been made in identifying and developing new compounds for the treatment of toxoplasmosis. Unlike clinically used medicines that were repurposed for toxoplasmosis, these compounds have been optimized for efficacy against toxoplasmosis during preclinical development. Medicines with enhanced efficacy as well as features that address the unique aspects of toxoplasmosis have the potential to greatly improve toxoplasmosis therapy. This review discusses the facets of toxoplasmosis that are pertinent to drug design and the advances, challenges, and current status of preclinical drug research for toxoplasmosis.

Keywords: Toxoplasma gondii, therapeutics, preclinical medicine, experimental medicine, mechanism of action, Apicomplexa

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