The protozoan diseases leishmaniasis, human African trypanosomiasis and Chagas disease are responsible for substantial global morbidity, mortality and economic adversity in tropical and subtropical regions. In most countries, existing strategies for control and treatment are either failing or under serious threat. Environmental changes, drug resistance and immunosuppression contribute to the emergence and spread of these diseases. In the absence of safe and efficient vaccines, chemotherapy, together with vector control, remains the most important measures to control trypanosomatid diseases. Here, we review current limitations of anti-trypanosomatid chemotherapy and describe new efforts to safeguard existing treatments and to identify novel drug leads through the three multinational and interdisciplinary European Union Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development (FP7) funded consortia KALADRUG-R, TRYPOBASE, and LEISHDRUG.
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