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Drug screening for Chagas disease

Project Information

Trypanosma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease (CD). Chagas Disease is endemic from the southwest USA to Patagonia. Historically, CD was a disease of poor and rural populations in Central and South America where it was transmitted primarily by triatomine insect vectors (eg: Triatoma infestans, Rhodnius prolixus). Although vector-based transmission has been controlled in many regions through massive public health programs, T. cruzi can also be transmitted by transfusion, transplantation and contaminated foods as well as vertically from mother-to-child. With the decline in vector-driven transmission, transfusion has become the major route of transmission in many parts of the Americas. Furthermore, mother-to-child transmission can maintain CD in populations long after vectoral transmission has ceased. Although congenital transmission is thought to occur in <5% of children born of CD-positive mothers, family clustering and multi-generational transmission have been reported.Both nifurtimox and benznidazole (BZN) have trypanocidal activity but only the latter is commonly used due to the risk of serious CNS and peripheral neurotoxicity with nifurtimox. Merck Frosst is designing drug to treat this disease.

Project Date: 
09/01/2010 to 10/05/2022
Type of Project: 
Research Area: 
Health Research
United States
McGill University Project Leader Information
Project Leader: 

Momar Ndao

Profile Picture: 
Primary Position
Faculty of Medicine
McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)
Assistant Professor
Research Interests: 
During the past few years increased awareness of parasitic infections has led to newly recognized parasites, emerging pathogens, and bioterrorism considerations; the fields of diagnostic medical parasitology, treatment and vaccines are undergoing dramatic change. My laboratory has interests in 1) diagnosis of parasitic diseases 2) the study of host-parasite interactions; 3) screening drugs to be used as therapies for protozoan parasitic disease; 4) developing vaccines to prevent parasitic diseases and 5) applying proteomic technology to discover biomarkers for infectious diseases.
  • Laboratory Director- NRCP at National Reference Centre for Parasitology (NRCP)/McGill University Tropical Diseases Centre
  • Assistant Profesor at McGill University- Department of Medicine
Selected Publications: 

Plourde M, Coelho A, Keynan Y, Larios OE, Ndao M, Ruest A, Roy G, Rubinstein E, Ouellette M.
Genetic polymorphisms and drug susceptibility in four isolates of Leishmania tropica obtained from Canadian soldiers returning from Afghanistan. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2012 Jan;6(1):e1463. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

Sampasa-Kanyinga H, Lévesque B, Anassour-Laouan-Sidi E, Côté S, Serhir B, Ward BJ, Libman MD, Drebot MA, Ndao M, Dewailly E.
Zoonotic Infections in Native Communities of James Bay, Canada. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2012 Jan 4. [Epub ahead of print]

Ndao M.
Biomarker discovery in serum/plasma using surface enhanced laser desorption ionization time of flight (SELDI-TOF) mass spectrometry. Methods Mol Biol. 2012;818:67-79.

Kassa FA, Shio MT, Bellemare MJ, Faye B, Ndao M, Olivier M.
New inflammation-related biomarkers during malaria infection. PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26495. Epub 2011 Oct 20.

Amos FF, Ndao M, Ponce CB, Evans JS.
A C-RING-like domain participates in protein self-assembly and mineral nucleation. Biochemistry. 2011 Oct 18;50(41):8880-7. Epub 2011 Sep 26.

Principal Investigator
Non-McGill Partners
Deborah Nicoll-Griffith