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SibMed Scientists Searching Treatment for Asthma and Diabetes by Studying Opisthorchiasis


Scientists from Tomsk Opisthorchiasis Consortium are studying characteristics of parasites and their possible impact on various metabolic pathways in the host body. Thanks to these studies, it is becoming possible to find new ways to treat obesity, asthma, diabetes and etc.

«A parasite can affect the host immune system, and we can use its strategies. We are studying host-parasite interactions in order to develop new methods of managing human immunity and metabolism, just the way parasites do it”, Vladimir Ivanov, associate professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Division, says.     

The research is conducted on golden hamsters. Biochemists found out that male and female hamsters have differences in metabolism processes. 

“An opisthorchid affects many host metabolic pathways, especially metabolism of fats. If we know how it happens, we’ll be able to manage metabolic processes in case of different diseases, for example, diabetes or obesity. It is fundamental research, and its results will help to elaborate new diagnostic methods and drugs for particular molecular targets”, Irina Saltykova, research scientist of SibMed research laboratory, states.      

Currently, the consortium continues a pilot project to study changes in metabolism under the influence of parasites. Previously, Tomsk scientists were the first in the world to discover the pigment hemozoin produced by opisthorchids. Pigment plays an important role in changing the immune functions of the host body. It lives in the liver, it is accumulated in the bile ducts, gradually clogs them, remaining in the body.

The project is implemented within the framework of the Russian Science Foundation (RSF) grant.