Improved treatment of tropical worm diseases: ERC Advanced Grant for Jennifer Keiser
Jennifer Keiser, Head of the Helminth Drug Development Unit at Swiss TPH, was awarded a European Research Council Advanced Grant for EUR 2.47 million over five years to conduct research on soil-transmitted helminth infections.
Infections caused by soil-transmitted helminths are among the most common infections worldwide, affecting an estimated 1.5 billion people, particulary in low- and middle-income countries. These infections are caused by several species of parasitic worms whose eggs develop in soil contaminated with feces. Intestinal worms cause a wide range of symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain, which currently have limited treatment options.
The development of improved therapies is the main focus of the project of Prof. Dr. Jennifer Keiser, Professor of Neglected Tropical Diseases and Head of the Helminth Drug Development Unit at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. The ERC is funding her research project, called “DRUGSBUGS,” with approximately 2.5 million euros. This is the second time she has been awarded a grant from the ERC.
In their ERC project, Keiser and her team want to experimentally investigate how gut communities of patients affect the therapy of soil-transmitted helminth infections and how supportive modulation of this microbiome can improve treatment outcomes. The results, together with clinical studies on the anthelmintic drug emodepside and the use of novel tools for drug screening, should contribute to the development of effective therapies against worm infections.