Cyrus Bacchi, PhD
Research Professor, Haskins Laboratories
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Chief Research Interests
The focus of my research is the function and metabolism of polyamines, small molecules found in all cells which are necessary for growth and division. Because of their essential role in all cells, polyamine synthesis and uptake make excellent targets for drug development. The organisms currently under study include African trypanosomes, causing sleeping sickness in humans and veterinary disease in a large area of sub-Saharan Africa. Research on polyamine metabolism in trypanosomes at Haskins led to development of a new drug to treat human trypanosomiasis. This agent, Eflornithine, is now in use in clinics in Africa, saving lives. Recent work has also examined the activity of extracts of medicinal plants indigenous to West and Central Africa against African trypanosomes. Another group of organisms being studied is Microsporidia, small intracellular parasites in immuno-suppressed patients. Our research has led to the identification of new polyamine analogues which are potential clinical drug candidates.
- Polyamine metabolism of Microsporidia
- Identification and mechanism of action of polyamine analogs as anti-Microsporidia agents
- Study of pentamidine and polyamine analogs as anti-trypanosomal agents
- Extracts of African medicinal plants as anti-parasitic agents
- Novel S-adenosylmethionine Decarboxylase Inhibitors for the Treatment of Human African Trypanosomiasis. Barker RH Jr, Liu H, Hirth B, Celatka CA, Fitzpatrick R, Xiang Y, Willert EK, Phillips MA, Kaiser M, Bacchi CJ, Rodriguez A, Yarlett N, Klinger JD, Sybertz E. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2009 Mar 16.
- Metabolism of an Alkyl Polyamine Analog by a Polyamine Oxidase from the Microsporidian Encephalitozoon cuniculi. Bacchi CJ, Yarlett N, Faciane E, Bi X, Rattendi D, Weiss LM, Woster PM. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2009 Feb 17
- Novel trypanocidal analogs of 5'-(methylthio)-adenosine. Sufrin JR, Spiess AJ, Marasco CJ Jr, Rattendi D, Bacchi CJ. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2008 Jan;52(1):211-9.