January 17, 2019
In November 2018, project proposals were accepted in a second round of ACREME seed grants, aimed at promoting collaborative research between investigators within the ACREME network. The applications received were of a very high standard, highlighting the breadth and quality of research currently being undertaken within ACREME.
Congratulations to lead investigators Ricardo Ataide (Burnet Institute), Maria Rebelo (QIMR-Berghofer), and Kamala Thriemer (Menzies) who were each awarded Seed Grants in this round.
Along with co-investigators Elizabeth Aitken, Jennifer Flegg, Maria Ome-Kaius, Stephen Rogerson and Jack Richards, Ricardo Ataide will combine geospatial surveillance techniques and antibody biomarker measurements from a cohort of pregnant women to identify malaria transmission hotspots around Madang, Papua New Guinea. Pregnant women attending routine antenatal care may represent an important ‘sentinel population’ that can provide information on malaria risk in a particular region or community.
Maria Rebelo, in collaboration with Sophie Zaloumis, Julie Simpson, and Ashraful Haque will develop a novel mouse model of artemisinin-resistant malaria to screen and prioritize antimalarial drugs effective against artemisinin-resistant parasites. Artemisinin resistant parasites have emerged and spread in Southeast Asia, threatening progress towards malaria elimination in the region and creating an urgent call for new treatments that are effective against these drug-resistant parasites. The project will utilise a humanised mouse model, whereby mice are engrafted with human red blood cells. Once validated by comparison with human malaria challenge results, the mouse model will be used to screen and select antimalarial drugs most effective against artemisinin resistant parasites.
In their project entitled “Paving the way for universal radical cure”, Kamala Thriemer, Leanne Robinson, Samuel McEwen, Benedikt Ley, Ric Price, and Julie Simpson will identify suitable sites for a large scale high dose primaquine effectiveness study and collect preliminary surveillance data to inform the study design. Primaquine is an anti-malaria drug used for “radical cure” of P. vivax, which involves killing dormant P. vivax liver stages and therefore preventing relapses of the disease. In addition, the team will consult with relevant National Malaria Control Programs to determine what additional evidence is needed to implement high dose universal radical cure.
We look forward to hearing how these exciting projects develop and contribute to the quest for malaria elimination in the Asia Pacific Region.