WWARN In Vitro Group

In Vitro Scientific Group

The WWARN In Vitro Group strategy is to identify the most relevant drug sensitivity assays to design

WWARN in vitro research requires studying Plasmodium falciparum and other malaria parasites’ reaction to antimalarial medicines outside the human body, in an artificial environment, to eliminate many patient effects including the way the drugs are metabolised and impact on immunity.

Conventional methodologies that measure IC50 - the metric of how effective a drug is - have proven their efficiency for determining resistance to former drugs such as chloroquine or mefloquine. However, for artemisinin-based compounds, that are the main components of antimalarials, the classical methodology of IC50 determination was not adapted to detect current resistant parasites.  As a consequence, the design of a new in vitro assay format (RSA) was devised to respond to this research need.

The WWARN In Vitro Group strategy is to identify the most relevant drug sensitivity assays to design. This research area is focusing on critical antimalarial drugs with three core assumptions:

  1. In vitro assay must be designed according to intra-host drug pharmacodynamics
  2. Parasites survival is more relevant than drug concentration required to inhibiting 50% of growth (IC50) and
  3. To be valid, in vitro results must be significantly associated to a drug resistance clinical outcome

Goals of the group

  • Support the research community by developing new in vitro assay methods and tools
  • Provide training on how to use these techniques
  • Ensure quality assurance controls
  • Further develop and simplify some of WWARN’s existing tools, such as the In Vitro Analysis & Reporting Tool (IVART)

Encouraging quality-assured data collection

  • Procedures: step-by-step methods for conducting investigations of parasite responses to malaria drugs and data collection
  • External Quality Assurance: provides freely available artemisinin resistant and artemisinin sensitive Plasmodium falciparum isolates. These isolates, available from the MR4 repository, are essential to support quality control when implementing an RSA assay

For more information on submitting in vitro data to the WWARN Data Centre or collaborating with the In Vitro Group, please email Benoit Witkowski: invitro [at] wwarn [dot] org