Can we harness immune responses to improve drug treatment in leishmaniasis?

Aruleba, Raphael Taiwo and Carter, Katharine C. and Brombacher, Frank and Hurdayal, Ramona (2020) Can we harness immune responses to improve drug treatment in leishmaniasis? Microorganisms, 8 (7). pp. 1-20. 1069. ISSN 2076-2607

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    Leishmaniasis is a vector-borne parasitic disease that has been neglected in priority for control and eradication of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Collectively, over one seventh of the world’s population is at risk of being infected with 0.7-1.2 million new infections reported annually. Clinical manifestations range from self-healing cutaneous lesions to fatal visceral disease. The first anti-leishmanial drugs were introduced in the 1950’s and, despite several shortcomings, remain the mainstay for treatment. Regardless of this and the steady increase in infections over the years, particularly among populations of low economic status, research on leishmaniasis remains under funded. This review looks at the drugs currently in clinical use and how they interact with the host immune response. Employing chemoimmunotherapeutic approaches may be one viable alternative to improve the efficacy of novel/existing drugs and extend their lifespan in clinical use.