Topical Collection "Natural Products as Leads or Drugs against Neglected Tropical Diseases"
Prof. Dr. Thomas J. Schmidt
About one billion people world-wide suffer from at least one of 17 life-threatening diseases currently classified by WHO as Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). These diseases represent a major cause of morbidity, disability and mortality in tropical regions of the world. They are termed “neglected” due to lack of financial investment into research and development of new drugs and almost non-existent public awareness in high-income countries. Being associated with poor socioeconomic and hygienic circumstances, they could also be termed diseases of neglected populations. NTDs comprise infections with pathogens of bacterial (e.g., Leprosy, Trachoma), viral (Dengue fever), helminth (e.g., Schistosomiasis, Filariasis) as well as “protozoan” (African sleeping sickness, Chagas’ disease, Leishmaniasis) origin. In environments where NTDs prevail, Malaria, the most widespread “protozoan” infection—although not currently treated as such by WHO—can also be considered a neglected disease. Notwithstanding recent partial successes in the struggle to eliminate or even eradicate some of these diseases, which have been achieved by WHO’s consequent strategies of disease monitoring, vector control, preventive chemotherapy and others, the development of new, safe and affordable drugs remains an urgent need. Existing pharmacotherapies, especially in case of the “protozoan” parasitoses, suffer from various shortcomings, namely, a high degree of toxicity and unwanted effects, lack of availability and/or problematic application under the life conditions of affected populations, as well as emergence of resistant pathogens, so that the search for new chemical entities showing activity against the NTD-pathogens is a very important field of research.
Nature has provided an innumerable wealth of drugs for the treatment of many serious diseases. Among the natural sources for new bioactive chemicals, terrestrial plants, bacteria and fungi have traditionally played the major roles; however, increasingly over the past few decades, many interesting new active molecules are found in marine life forms. Secondary metabolites from an immense diversity of living organisms thus represent a huge repository of chemical structures which has been and will continue to be a source of new drugs, directly in their native form or after optimization by synthetic medicinal chemistry.
The present Topical collection focuses on such molecules of natural origin that show a promising potential to act against the pathogens responsible for neglected tropical diseases, including Malaria. All aspects related to the discovery and further development of natural products against NTDs will be covered by the issue. It is therefore a pleasure to invite high quality studies, as well as timely review papers, on in vitro and in vivo biological activity, isolation and structure elucidation, synthetic optimization, investigations of the pharmacodynamics and -kinetics, as well as structure-activity relationships of natural products acting against NTDs.
As guest editor, I would like to dedicate my work on this successful topical collection to my former mentor and teacher, Professor emeritus Dr. Günter Willuhn, University of Düsseldorf, on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
Prof. Dr. Thomas J. Schmidt
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts for the topical collection can be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on this website. The topical collection considers regular research articles, short communications and review articles. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page.
- neglected tropical disease
- natural product
- secondary metabolite
- medicinal chemistry of natural products
- bioactivity testing/screening
- mechanism of action
- chagas disease
- human african trypanosomiasis (Sleeping sickness)
- buruli ulcer (mycobacterium ulcerans infection)
- dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease)
- foodborne trematodiases
- lymphatic filariasis
- onchocerciasis (river blindness)
- soil transmitted helminthiases
- yaws (endemic treponematoses)