Parasitic Diseases: Opportunities and Challenges in the 21st Century|
Daniel G Colley
The opportunities and challenges for the study and control of parasitic diseases in the 21st century are both exciting and daunting. Based on the contributions from this field over the last part of the 20th century, we should expect new biologic concepts will continue to come from this discipline to enrich the general area of biomedical research. The general nature of such a broad category of infections is difficult to distill, but they often depend on well-orchestrated, complex life cycles and they often involve chronic, relatively well-balanced host/parasite relationships. Such characteristics force biological systems to their limits, and this may be why studies of these diseases have made fundamental contributions to molecular biology, cell biology and immunology. However, if these findings are to continue apace, parasitologists must capitalize on the new findings being generated though genomics, bioinformatics, proteomics, and genetic manipulations of both host and parasite. Furthermore, they must do so based on sound biological insights and the use of hypothesis-driven studies of these complex systems. A major challenge over the next century will be to capitalize on these new findings and translate them into successful, sustainable strategies for control, elimination and eradication of the parasitic diseases that pose major public health threats to the physical and cognitive development and health of so many people worldwide.
parasitic diseases, research, molecular biology, cell biology, immunology, control