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Monday, December 10, 2012

Amoebic colitis, an intestinal infection caused by a water-borne pathogen, affects 50 million people worldwide each year. Most are able to shed the bug on their own, but about 100,000 individuals develop life-threatening complications that can only be resolved by medication.

WVU Department of Physiology and Pharmacology Chair and E.J. Van Liere Professor David Siderovski, Ph.D., went through a personal experience, however, that showed him the negative side effects of the one drug available to treat amoebic colitis. Several years ago when a family member suffered from the infection, she took metronidazole but endured sleeplessness, heart rhythm problems and arm nerve pain. At that time, Dr. Siderovski marveled, "Wouldn't it be great to have something with less side effects?"

Last week, the Public Library of Science journal "PLoS Pathogens" published a paper based on research Siderovski and other scientists conducted. The article describes the discovery of a new signal transduction pathway within Entamoeba histolytica, the human pathogen that causes amoebic colitis. Siderovski said he hopes his work, performed in collaboration with former colleagues at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will lead to the creation of a new drug to treat amoebic colitis.

Siderovski noted he is excited to be doing research at WVU and is planning to seek additional funding that will allow his lab to develop a new amoebic colitis drug with minimal side effects.