Chagas' disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, affects millions of people worldwide, mostly in Latin America, and is considered one of the neglected tropical diseases (NTD) of highest priority in the "Lead Discovery for Drugs for Tropical Infectious Diseases" program of the World Health Organization (WHO). The available drugs to fight the disease are extremely limited and have serious problems such as low efficiency and high toxicity. In this context, the development of new drugs is extremely important.The identification of molecular targets of the causative agent of the disease, Trypanosoma cruzi, provides attractive opportunities in medicinal chemistry for the design of new drug candidates. In this PhD project was selected the enzyme cruzain (EC 18.104.22.168), the major cysteine protease of T. cruzi, as a validated molecular target for Chagas disease.The fundamental objectives of the project are the identification and design of inhibitors of cruzain from T. cruzi, as candidates for drug development against Chagas' disease. The project's strategy involves the use of structure-based (SBDD) and ligand-based drug design (LBDD) approaches, through the integration of experimental and computational methods in medicinal chemistry and drug design.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: