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An international research team shows that carbohydrates may play a vital role in improving malaria vaccine

Malaria infects over 200 million people worldwide each year and kills around 650,000 people

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Malaria vaccine
Carbohydrates may improve malaria vaccine. Pixabay
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  • Carbohydrates on the surface of malaria parasites play an important role in their ability to infect mosquito Andy human hosts
  • The new research is aimed at improving malaria vaccine design
  • It’s hoped that a version of RTS, S with added carbohydrates will perform better than the current vaccine

New Delhi, September 18, 2017: Offering vital clues to improving malaria vaccine, an international research team has shown that carbohydrates on the surface of malaria parasites play a critical role in their ability to infect mosquito and human hosts.

The discovery, published in the journal Nature Communications, also suggests steps that may improve the only malaria vaccine approved to protect people against Plasmodium falciparum malaria — the most deadly form of the disease.

The team had shown that the malaria parasite “tags” its proteins with carbohydrates in order to stabilise and transport them and that this process was crucial to completing the parasite’s life cycle.

“Interfering with the parasite’s ability to attach these carbohydrates to its proteins hinders liver infection and transmission to the mosquito and weakens the parasite to the point that it cannot survive in the host,” said Justin Boddey from Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Malaria infects over 200 million people worldwide each year and kills around 650,000 people, predominantly pregnant women and children. Efforts to eradicate malaria require the development of new therapeutics, particularly an effective malaria vaccine.

Also readNearly 900,000 Nigerian Children Receive Anti-Malaria Vaccination: WHO Report

The first malaria vaccine approved for human use — RTS,S/AS01 — got the nod of the European regulators in July 2015 but has not been as successful as hoped with marginal efficacy that wanes over time.

The new research is aimed at improving malaria vaccine design.

“The protein used in the RTS, S vaccine mimics one of the proteins we’ve been studying on the surface of the malaria parasite that is readily recognised by the immune system,” Ethan Goddard-Borger from Walter and Eliza Hall Institute said.

“With this study, we’ve shown that the parasite protein is tagged with carbohydrates, making it slightly different to the vaccine, so the antibodies produced may not be optimal for recognising target parasites.”

“It may be that a version of RTS, S with added carbohydrates will perform better than the current vaccine,” he said, adding that there were many documented cases where attaching carbohydrates to a protein improved its efficacy as a vaccine. (IANS)

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High carbohydrate intake may increase cancer recurrence risk

Five-year survival rates among these patients continue to be low, in part because these cancers are often detected in the later stages

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tumors
Can sugar contribute to growth of cancer in your body? Pixabay

Consuming high amounts of carbohydrates and sugar prior to treatment for head and neck cancer may increase the patients’ risks of cancer recurrence and mortality, a new study reports.

Patients who consumed the most total carbohydrates and sugars — in the form of sucrose, fructose, lactose and maltose — in the year preceding the cancer treatment were at greater risk of mortality from any cause during the follow-up period. Out of the 400 cancer patients in the study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, more than 17 per cent experienced recurrence of their cancer, and 42 patients died from it.

protein
Cancer can be caused by excessive intake of sugar and carbohydrates too. Pixabay

Associations among carbohydrate intake and patient outcomes differed by cancer type and stage, said lead author Anna E. Arthur, professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

However, eating moderate amounts of fats and starchy foods such as whole grains, potatoes and legumes after treatment could have protective benefits, reducing the patients’ risks of disease recurrence and death, he added.

What We Know About Cancer Risk and Coffee

“Our results, along with the findings of other studies, suggest that diet composition can affect cancer outcomes,” said co-author Amy M. Goss, professor at the University of Alabama.

Higher mortality rates were found among people with oral cavity cancer who consumed the greatest amounts of total carbohydrates, total sugars and simple carbohydrates, but the researchers found no such associations among people who had oropharyngeal cancers.

Chronic diseases are not yet included in cancer prevention schemes.
Cancer can be caused due to too much sugar.

“Although in this study we found that higher total carbohydrate and total sugar were associated with higher mortality in head and neck cancer patients, because of the study design we can’t say that there’s a definitive cause-effect relationship,” Arthur said.

Five-year survival rates among these patients continue to be low, in part because these cancers are often detected in the later stages, putting patients at high risk of recurrence, the researchers said. IANS

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