The Van Voorhis lab uses emerging knowledge about the genomes of parasitic diseases to aid in rational drug discovery.
The lab is also involved in discovering the molecular targets of cell-active compounds that are potential drugs. They have discovered promising anti-parasitic compounds, based on enzymatic targets from the genomes of these parasites, that show great promise as drug leads.
Some of the most promising compounds are inhibitors that block kinases necessary for parasite growth. The group uses structure based drug discovery, in collaboration with X-ray crystallographers and chemists, and pharmacokinetic and toxicology information from the laboratory, to optimize compounds to become drug candidates for clinical development.
The Van Voorhis group, in collaboration with 4 other groups in Pennsylvania, Argentina, England and Australia, has developed a website called TDRtargets.org which allows pharmaceutical companies and scientists to select optimal drug targets from the genomes of parasite.
Results from the Malawi Phase 2A, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Evaluation of the Safety, Tolerability, Pharmacokinetics and Efficacy of Clofazimine (CFZ) in Cryptosporidiosis, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, can be found here.