Research, Chagas

New Drug for Chagas Disease Makes Headway

A phase II study of a new drug against Chagas disease has completed its recruitment phase


Chagas disease was first recognized over a century ago but innovative treatments are still lacking. The only two treatments currently available—benznidazole and nifurtimox—were developed over 35 years ago and have serious limitations in adult patients with chronic disease. In June 2012, ISGlobal's research center, CRESIB, together with the Platform for the Integral Care of Patients With Chagas Disease and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative completed the recruitment of 231 adult patients for a phase II study of a new drug against chronic Chagas disease: E1224.

E1224 is an oral prodrug that has shown potent activity against the parasite responsible for Chagas disease: Trypanosoma cruzi. Furthermore, the fact that it has good absorption and tolerability profiles, is administered once weekly, and has an affordable price makes it a promising candidate for the treatment of this neglected disease.

This phase II proof-of-concept safety and efficacy study was launched in July 2011 in Cochabamba and Tarija, Bolivia, which has the highest burden of Chagas disease in the world. It is a multicentre, randomised, placebo-controlled safety and efficacy trial that will evaluate three oral dosing regimens of E1224 and benznidazole. If it passes the phase II and III processes, E1224 could well become one of the first new treatments for Chagas disease in many years.