News / Health

Newly Developed Skin Cream Cures Parasitic Illness

An Afghan woman affected by leishmaniasis gets an injection at a free specialized clinic for supported by World Health Organization in Islam Qala, Herat, Afghanistan,  Oct. 30, 2010.
An Afghan woman affected by leishmaniasis gets an injection at a free specialized clinic for supported by World Health Organization in Islam Qala, Herat, Afghanistan, Oct. 30, 2010.
Jessica Berman
The painless but disfiguring lesions of cutaneous leishmaniasis, caused by the bite of a sand fly, may soon be treatable with an antibiotic cream.  Developed by an international team of researchers, the cream would replace lengthy and painful drug treatments for the disease, commonly known as CL, in subtropical and temperate climates.  

Right now, treatment for CL involves a 20-day course of drugs which contain toxic heavy metals that must be injected directly into a vein at hospitals and clinics.  Public health workers in developing countries report some people infected with cutaneous leishmaniasis have tried to burn their disfiguring lesions with battery acid or red hot machetes rather than seek the medical treatment, which is painful, expensive and lengthy.

But CL patients could soon be treated with an antibiotic cream applied directly to the open sores.

Major Mara Kreishman-Deitrick of the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases is a lead author of a study of two antibiotic creams - one containing the drugs paromomycin and gentimicin and the other, paromomycin alone.

In a clinical trial of 375 people infected with CL in Tunisia, Kreishman-Deitrick says both creams, applied once a day for 20 days, led to a significant reduction in the size of the sores and improvements in skin regrowth after one hundred days.

“What we showed in our study, which we are very excited about, was that both creams that we tested cured more than 80 percent of the lesions in the patients that were treated, with a great safety profile," said Kreishman-Deitrick. "The side effects that we saw were mild and moderate and primarily just minor skin reactions around the application site.”

Further studies will be conducted to determine whether the cream actually kills the CL parasite, which is why investigators waited six months to see whether there was a flare-up of the treated lesions.

The Tunisian trial involved infection with L. major, a parasitic species carried by the sand fly in parts of the Middle East and North Africa.  However, Kreishman-Deitrick is optimistic the combination antibiotic cream will treat CL in other regions of the world.

“Our animal data and preliminary clinical data show that we could see more of a difference in other species of leishmaniasis in parts of the world like Central and South America," she said.

An estimated 1.5 million cases of CL are diagnosed each year, including among U.S. military personnel serving abroad.  Service men and women infected with leishmaniasis currently have to return home for treatment.  Kreishman-Dietrick says the cream would allow them to be treated on site.

Because cutaneous leishmaniasis is considered a neglected tropical disease, Kreishman-Dietrick says U.S. regulators have put consideration of the highly-effective cream on a fast track for approval.

An article on the topical treatment for cutaneous leishmaniasis by researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute, the Tunisian Ministry of Health and investigators at the Instituts Pasteur in Tunis and in Paris is published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid