Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by the protozoan parasites Leishmania which is spread by sand flies throughout tropical and subtropical countries. There are approximately 12 million chronic cases worldwide with roughly 2 million new clinical cases each year. Around 40,000 people die each year from the most severe form, visceral leishmaniasis. Only a handful of drugs exist to treat leishmaniasis, most cause serious side effects and drug resistance is a growing problem. No vaccines are yet available for use in humans.
As part of a global effort to improve the treatment for patients with leishmaniasis, we are developing a virtual laboratory that will contain computational models, alongside experimental data, to discover how existing drugs may be used more effectively, to identify new drug targets and to develop or repurpose biological therapies. Our computational models should significantly reduce the need for animal research in drug development.
SimOmics is working with the University of York and the Centre for Immunology and Infection, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Cybula Ltd and Pharmadex. The project to develop the virtual laboratory is funded through the SBRI and sponsored by the NC3Rs.