Two new review articles were published on suitable animal models for research into drug discovery against the kinetoplastid diseases cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), and Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis).

One article published in September on PLOS NTDs by Emily Rose Mears, Farrokh Modabber, Robert Don and George E. Johnson entitled A Review: The Current In Vivo Models for the Discovery and Utility of New Anti-leishmanial Drugs Targeting Cutaneous Leishmaniasis provides interesting information and guidance on animal models for CL drug discovery.

Reliable in vitro and in vivo models are essential for drug development - currently there is no satisfactory treatment for any form of CL. Often, anti-CL drugs have an indication for only a subgroup of CL species.

In the absence of a validated animal model for CL drug discovery, the article discusses the variety of responses depending on the animal and also depending on the parasite species. An overview of systems  to monitor parasite load in models, and their suitability for research, is provided.

The article can be accessed via this link: http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0003889

Another article, Translational challenges of animal models in Chagas disease drug development: a review by Eric Chatelain and Nandini Konar, was published in August 2015 in Drug design, Development and Therapy.

The article highlights the limited predictive value of the current animal models available for Chagas disease for the preclinical evaluation of novel therapies. It provides an overview of animal models, and proposes steps that could be undertaken to reduce variability and improve predictability of drug candidate efficacy.

The current portfolio of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi, www.dndi.org, http://www.dndi.org/diseases-projects/portfolio.html), contains many development candidates for NMEs or combinations/reformulations against both Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL), and CL, and drugs, biomarker and a paediatric dosage form of Benznidazole against Chagas.

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