- 31 October 2019
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
THURSDAY 31 October 2019, 1.00 PM
Auditorium, Level 6, Bancroft Building
Malaria “Sleeping Beauties” induced by artemisinin in vitro and in vivo
Dr Qin Cheng
Army Malaria Institute Laboratory
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Artemisinin derivatives are the most potent antimalarial drugs currently available, however, their monotherapies have been associated with frequent treatment failures that are not due to conventional drug resistance. We reported earlier that P. falciparum parasites arrest their growth and development after a short exposure to artemisinin derivatives becoming “dormant” in vitro. We also identified a small population of dormant parasites resume growth several days later causing recrudescence and investigated the underlying mechanisms that control, regulate and support artemisinin-induced dormancy in vitro. While this artemisinin-induced dormancy phenomenon provides a plausible explanation for frequent treatment failure, there has been no documentation and characterisation of artemisinin-induced dormancy in humans. Recently, in collaboration with Prof James McCarthy’s team at QIMR-Berghofer, we characterised dormant parasites in participants of induced blood stage infections. The study provides strong evidence for the presence of artemisinin-induced dormant parasites in P. falciparum infected humans causing treatment failure. The findings highlight that treatment regimens with partner drugs targeting dormant parasites will likely improve efficacy of artemisinin derivatives.
Dr Qin Cheng studied medicine (BMed), then completed Masters (MMed) and a PhD in 1993. Between 1989 and 1998 Dr Cheng conducted biomedical research on malaria parasites and vaccines at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR). Since 1998 Dr Cheng has been Head of the Drug Resistance and Diagnostics Department at the Australian Defence Force Malaria and Infectious Disease Institute (formerly Australian Army Malaria Institute, AMI). She has also been a visiting scientist at QIMR since 1998 and was Head of Malaria Drug Resistance and Chemotherapy Laboratory at QIMR between 2000 and 2010. In 2016 she was appointed as Honorary Group Leader, Head of the Army Malaria Laboratory at QIMR-Berghofer. Dr Cheng had a joint appointment as Associate Professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Queensland between 2004 and 2015.