An unbelievable international crew of over 100 scientists has just completed a decisive step that might soon help oppose a awful parasitic cancer known as schistosomiasis, which kills to up two hundred thousands people every year.
The team, led by researchers at the University of New Mexico, has completed an in-depth analysis of the genome of the tropical Rams Horn snail (< em> Biomphalaria glabrata ), which is crucial to the development of the parasite. This experiment, published in Nature Communication, might tell us how to take the snail out of the equation and halting the parasite before it can affect humans.
Sequencing and characterizing the genome of this snail has given us a lot of information into its biology, lead author Professor Coenraad Adema, from the University of New Mexico, said in a statement. It has informed us on animal growth and supports the drive to understate the impact of infectious disease on world health.
The parasite is a flat worm. It infects these freshwater snails during the early stages of its life cycle, and as it develops it takes over the snails reproductive system and metabolic processes. When it is fully developed, it leaves the snail but stays in the liquid. There it can survive, waiting, until it comes in contact with humen. Then it breakstheir scalp and have started to reproduce.
Understanding the snails genome presents us many avenues to cut the snail out of this parasites lifecycle, which one day may lead to the elimination of this cancer, Adema added.
After malaria, this is the worst parasitic cancer on the planet. So, being able to do work that may help improve world human health outcomes it is a very important motivating for my research.
Schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia or snail fever, affects the urinary tract and bowel of the people who become infected. According to the World Health Organization( WHO ), in 2015, 66.5 million people were reported to have been treated for the disease. Snail fever is one of the neglected tropical diseases.
The research has an impact beyond disease prevention. Researchers are unveiling the full genome of more and more species, which is heralding a brand-new and deeper understanding of the biological links between every creature on Earth.
This is an important contribution to better understanding infectious disease, he said. It also presents us information on regulation of gene expres, comparative immunology, embryology, general biology of snails, animal growth, and many other things.”
The WHO hopes to eliminate snail fever by 2025, and this research might give scientists the appropriate tool to get rid of it once and for all.
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