An international team of scientists has developed a compound that looks promising as a novel antimalarial agent. The compound targets dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), an enzyme involved in the Plasmodium parasite’s de novo production of pyrimidines required for nucleic acid synthesis (Phillips MA et al. Sci Transl Med. 2015;7:296ra111).
DSM265, named after several of the collaborators’ cities (Dallas, Seattle, and Melbourne), was the 265th version of an initial compound targeting DHODH, and is highly selective toward the Plasmodium falciparum—but not the human—form of the enzyme.
Hampton T. Novel, Long-Acting Drug May Help Prevent and Treat Malaria. JAMA. 2015;314(9):866. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.9802