Plenary Lecture

Current situation and new possibilities in pharmacology of parasitic infections

Dr. Gabriela Hrckova
Co-author: Velebny Samuel
Parasitological Institute
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Kosice, Slovakia
E-mail: hrcka@saske.sk

Abstract: Parasitic worms are exceptionally successful infectious agents and as many as two billion individuals harbour these parasites, mostly in developing countries. Millions of humans are simultaneously infected with filarie, hookworms, whipworms, large round worms and /or schistosomes. The most dangerous parasitic infection of the Northern hemisphere is alveolar echinococcosis and a closely related cystic echinococcosis. Only a few classes of anthelmintic drugs were discovered by an empirical approach in the last century. Of these benzimidazole carbamates and praziquantel are still used to treat various human infections. However, their limited efficacy against the larval stages of helminths and increasing drug resistance indicate the need of an alternative treatment approaches and searching of the novel drugs among the natural-product extracts. In our study we focussed on medically important larval stages of several nematode and cestode species, and cestode laboratory model Mesocestoides vogae. Our findings demonstrated that the efficacy of benzimidazole carbamates and praziquantel can be markedly improved after their incorporation into suitable drug carriers, which changed pharmacokinetic properties of drugs such as short plasma circulation time and the bioavailability. Application of the immumomodulatory substances such as polysaccharide glucan and flavonoid silymarin offered a very effective tool to activate the host immune defence, which is down-regulated by parasite-derived molecules. Finally, our approach to combine drug with natural substance entrapped in carriers proved to have multiple advantages over the classical therapy, regarding the drug efficacy and host pathologyphysiology.

Brief Biography of the Speaker: Gabriela Hrckova graduated the University of P.J.Safarik , Faculty of Sciences in Kosice, Slovakia where she completed Master’s degree in biology. She achieved PhD degree in 1993 from the Institute of Parasitology, Slovak Academy of Sciences of the Slovakia and got position as research scientist. Currently she is principal investigator and Head of laboratory of Molecular and Experimental Pharmacology at this Institute and the externallecturer at School of Biology of Faculty of Sciences. Since 2009 she works for private Pharmaceutical Company in Slovakia as Consultant in Pharmacology. Her background in the pharmacology of infectious diseases extends over more than 20 years of research. She studies the effects of anthelmintic drugs and natural immunomodulators on host pathofysiology, cell biology and signalling, modulation of molecular and immunological pathways and biomarker expression using multidisciplinary approach. She is author or co-author of over 55 scientific papers and chapter in international book on Toxocara nematode published by CABI Publisher, UK. She regularly presents results at international conferences.