Purdue researcher awarded $1.3 million for malaria drug trials in Southeast Asia and Africa

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Sept. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A Purdue researcher is taking a giant leap forward in the fight against drug–resistant strains of malaria in developing countries.

Open Philanthropy has awarded $1.38 million to Philip Low to further validate a drug therapy that he and his colleagues have previously shown to successfully treat the disease. Low (rhymes with "now") is Purdue University's Presidential Scholar for Drug Discovery and the Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in the College of Science.

For years, experts have been concerned about the rise of drug–resistant malaria variants in Southeast Asia and the prospect that one or more of these strains might travel to Africa. A similar event occurred in the 1980s with the emergence of drug resistance to the then–standard treatment of chloroquine, which resulted in millions of deaths.

But Low is working to save lives on both continents by conducting clinical trials to validate previous results and to test whether the number of days of an anti–malaria treatment can be reduced.

While studying how malaria propagates in human blood, Low and his research team discovered that the cancer drug therapy imatinib is effective in the treatment of drug–resistant malaria. Trials in Southeast Asia showed that imatinib, when combined with the customary malaria therapy, clears all malaria parasites from 90% of patients within 48 hours and 100% of patients within three days. The patients receiving imatinib were also relieved of their fevers in less than half of the time experienced by similar patients treated with the standard therapy.

Open Philanthropy has awarded Low $600,000 for a larger clinical trial in Southeast Asia to validate his previous trials. The organization has also awarded Low $780,000 to determine whether the usual three–day therapy can be reduced to two days or even one. This work will be focused in the African countries of Kenya and Tanzania where malaria is prominent.

"We found that people in Africa must often walk many miles to obtain treatment for malaria. They will receive three pills, walk all the way home, take one or two pills, start to feel better, and then save the third pill for their next malaria infection," Low said. "When they don't finish the course of treatment, only the most drug–resistant strains of the parasite survive and spread. And that's how people build up drug resistance. So we'd like to eventually be able to cure all patients with just one pill. It would prevent these drug–resistant strains from ever proliferating."

Open Philanthropy is a grantmaking organization whose mission is to use its resources to help others as much as it can, according to the funder.

"This is yet another case of an organization recognizing Philip Low's brilliance, scientific vision and mission to help people in all corners of the world," said Brooke Beier, senior vice president of Purdue Innovates. "The Purdue Research Foundation has been a proud partner in supporting his work, protecting and promoting his intellectual property that is changing lives and making our world a better place to live."

Since 1988, Low has been listed on more than 145 invention disclosures to the Purdue Innovates Office of Technology Commercialization. He has been listed on more than 600 patents in nearly two dozen countries around the world from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and international patent organizations. During his tenure at Purdue, Low has been awarded 213 research grants for more than $43.5 million. His work also receives support from the Purdue Institute for Cancer Research and the Purdue Institute for Drug Discovery.

Imatinib was originally produced by Novartis for the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia and other cancers. It works by blocking specific enzymes involved in the growth of cancers.

"When we discovered the ability of imatinib to block parasite propagation in human blood cultures in petri dishes, we initiated a human clinical trial where we combined imatinib with the standard treatment (piperaquine plus dihydroartemisinin) used to treat malaria in much of the world," Low said.

Malaria infects human red blood cells, where it reproduces and eventually activates a red blood cell enzyme that in turn triggers rupture of the cell and release of a form of the parasite called a merozoite into the bloodstream. Low and his colleagues theorized that by blocking the critical red blood cell enzyme, they could stop the infection. The data from initial drug trials have confirmed that.

"Because we're targeting an enzyme that belongs to the red blood cell, the parasite can't mutate to develop resistance "" it simply can't mutate our proteins in our blood cells," Low said. "This is a novel approach that will hopefully become a therapy that can't be evaded by the parasite in the future. This would constitute an important contribution to human health."

The goal, Low said, is to get this into developing countries to save lives. With this new round of funding, he says they're now closer than they've ever been.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research institution with excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top 4 in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, with 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue's main campus has frozen tuition 12 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap, including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes, at https://www.purdue.edu/president/strategic–initiatives.

About Purdue Innovates

Purdue Innovates is a unified network at Purdue Research Foundation to assist Purdue faculty, staff, students and alumni in either IP commercialization or startup creation. As a conduit to technology commercialization, intellectual property protection and licensing, startup creation and venture capital, Purdue Innovates serves as the front door to translate new ideas into world–changing impact.

For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at otcip@prf.org. For more information about involvement and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact Purdue Innovates at purdueinnovates@prf.org.

Media contact: Steve Martin, sgmartin@prf.org

Sources: Philip Low, plow@purdue.edu

Brooke Beier, blbeier@prf.org


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St Kitts and Nevis crowned as best destination to invest in according to 2023 CBI (CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT) Index

Basseterre, Sept. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — St Kitts and Nevis has been recognised as the best CBI destination in the 2023 edition of the CBI Index, trumping 11 other countries with active citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes.

The country, which has made several sweeping changes to its CBI Programme in the last year, took top honours, scoring 77 points in a race between nations such as Dominica, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda, Malta, Vanuatu, Turkey, Egypt, Austria, Cambodia, and Jordan.

The 2023 CBI Index noted that St Kitts and Nevis has been the most proactive CBI nation in the Caribbean when it comes to responding to security concerns raised by Western nations. The country "stands out for taking immediate and decisive action based on the "Six Principles' framework. Moreover, it underscores a political will to take a proactive leadership role in the long–term sustainability of the industry through good governance, enhanced due diligence, and regional harmonisation with international partners.'

Now in its seventh year, the CBI Index utilises its established nine–pillar index architecture to provide investors with a data–driven framework with which to measure the performance and appeal of global CBI programmes. The nine pillars include Standard of Living, Freedom of Movement, Minimum Investment Outlay, Mandatory Travel or Residence, Citizenship Timeline, Ease of Processing, Due Diligence, Family and Certainty of Product.

St Kitts and Nevis scored full marks in Mandatory Travel or Residence, Ease of Processing, Due Diligence and Certainty of Product pillars.

The Mandatory Travel or Residence pillar examines the travel or residence conditions imposed on applicants both before and after the granting of citizenship. St Kitts and Nevis does not have travel or minimum residency requirements for its programme, making it straightforward for busy entrepreneurs and global citizens to attain citizenship in the country.

The Ease of Processing pillar measures the end–to–end complexity of the CBI application process. The overall effortlessness of the application process is a particularly vital component, and the promise of a smooth, hassle–free process can generate readiness to engage with a programme.

The Due Diligence pillar measures a programme's integrity. St Kitts and Nevis retains its top position from the previous year due to the Citizenship by Investment Unit's changes made as part of a rapid implementation of the "Six Principles,' which include mandatory interviews and measures to stop financial irregularities in the real estate option to safeguard the Programme's reputation.

The Certainty of Product pillar encompasses a range of factors that measure a programme's certainty across five different dimensions including longevity, popularity and renown, stability, reputation, and adaptability. As the only country to attain a perfect score in this category, St Kitts and Nevis' performance reflects not only its swift response to the recent unprecedented international pressure imposed on all Caribbean CBI programmes, but its continuous proactive approach to instituting industry leading changes.

"I am thrilled to once again to have the St Kitts and Nevis CBI Programme recognised as the best in the industry," said Michael Martin, Head of the St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit.

"This recognition by the CBI Index is another confirmation of why St Kitts and Nevis should be the first choice for any global investor. For four decades we have crafted solid, innovative and sustainable investment solutions, giving investors the confidence to attain their goals in the global arena."

St Kitts and Nevis continues to provide an exemplary model to the investment migration industry. The country made bold changes to its Programme at the end of 2022 and further changes in July, the latter changes convincingly addressed security concerns raised by the United Kingdom, the European Union and previously the United States.

The country hosted four of the Caribbean's CBI nations, along with a delegation from the United States, who all agreed on 6 Principles to be followed by the Caribbean nations. While many of the security measures were already in place as part of St Kitts and Nevis' due diligence processes, the country was one of the first to institute mandatory interviews with applicants aged 16 years and older.

St Kitts and Nevis has also tightened regulations around how Authorised Agents and International Marketing Agents operate, requiring them to have their businesses registered under the laws of St Kitts and Nevis and limiting how they may advertise the St Kitts and CBI Programme internationally.

Other legislative changes include increased minimum investment thresholds, revised dependant eligibility, and the closing of loopholes for real estate investment options.

St Kitts and Nevis has shown the most commitment to upholding the integrity and reputation its CBI programme in the international arena.

The CBI Index is a rating system designed to assess the performance and appeal of active CBI programmes across a diverse range of indicators and measures. Its purpose is to bring value to the CBI industry by providing a data–driven and practical tool for appraising programmes and facilitating the decision–making process for individuals considering them.

The CBI Index stands as one of the most recognised and reputable rating tools in the investment migration industry and has a reputation for providing valuable industry insights and knowledge.

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