Google Play icon

Scientists crack the code of a cancer-causing parasite

Share
Posted July 16, 2014
Opisthorchis viverrini. Image source: University of Melbourne

Opisthorchis viverrini. Image source: University of Melbourne

Scientists have sequenced the genome and characterised the genes of the Asian liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrini.  This parasite causes diseases that affect millions of people in Asia and is associated with a fatal bile duct cancer.

The study has been published online in the journal Nature Communications.

Lead investigators, Dr Neil Young and Professor Robin Gasser, from the University of Melbourne, worked with an international team of experts, including Dr Niranjan Nagarajan and Patrick Tan from the Genome Institute of Singapore, to assemble and characterise the largest parasitic worm genome studied to date.

Dr Young said, “This study provides insight into how the fluke survives the hostile environment within the human bile duct, and provides further evidence that these parasites release proteins that directly alter human tissue.”

The parasite is carried by snails and fish and infects humans, cats and dogs through the eating of raw fish. It migrates to the liver and bile duct causing a range of chronic liver and gall bladder diseases including cancers.

Prof Gasser said, “Work on the fluke is crucial to understand how the parasite lives in the bile ducts of the liver. Currently, there is no vaccine and only one drug available to treat infection.

“Our new genome resource will underpin profound explorations of cancer-causing parasites, and could lead to new treatments against parasites and parasite-induced cancers.”

Source: University of Melbourne

Featured news from related categories:

Technology Org App
Google Play icon
85,532 science & technology articles

Most Popular Articles

  1. New treatment may reverse celiac disease (October 22, 2019)
  2. The World's Energy Storage Powerhouse (November 1, 2019)
  3. "Helical Engine" Proposed by NASA Engineer could Reach 99% the Speed of Light. But could it, really? (October 17, 2019)
  4. Plastic waste may be headed for the microwave (October 18, 2019)
  5. Universe is a Sphere and Not Flat After All According to a New Research (November 7, 2019)

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Tumblr   RSS   Newsletter via Email