Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease that affects 200 million people and is a major health problem worldwide.
Previous research has shown that the type of immune response generated to this parasite determines the disease outcome (i.e. mild versus severe disease).
Current research is focused on identifying the specific immune components that predict and also actively promote the development of the less severe form of disease. While the short-term goal of the proposed research is to enhance our understanding of how schistosomiasis causes severe liver damage, the long-term goal is to develop practical applications such as markers of severe disease or interventions that prevent liver damage.
In parallel, we are using a proteomic approach to identify markers for disease development that can be used to detect individuals in the early stages of liver fibrosis. The studies utilise chronically infected CBA/J mice that develop moderate or severe splenomegaly and hepatic fibrosis to establish a correlation between the abundance of marker proteins and advancement of liver disease and fibrosis.
The identification of disease markers in mice will provide the essential foundation for further studies to investigate the relevance of these candidates to human disease and correlate serum levels to other disease parameters.
We collaborate with the following researchers:
- Dr W Evan Secor - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Prof Barbara Doughty - Texas A & M University
- Dr Bill Jordan - Victoria University of Wellington