Some of Imperial's current research into neglected tropical diseases are outlined below.

Neglected tropical diseases

Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research

Professor Sir Roy Anderson

“The London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research (LCNTDR) is a joint initiative between Imperial , the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the Royal Veterinary College, London, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Centre and the Natural History Museum. The Centre undertakes innovative multidisciplinary research to build evidence around the epidemiology, transmission dynamics and control of the Neglected Tropical Diseases. The research also involves clinical and community based trial design, monitoring and evaluation of control impact, clinical study, molecular epidemiological genetics  and diagnosis plus diagnostic tool development of some of the most common NTD infections; namely, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms (collectively known as soil-transmitted helminths), leishmaniasis, filarial worms, onchocerciasis, dengue, trachoma and schistosomiasis. From the five partner Institutions, over 50 academic staff are associated with the research of the Centre.

Schistosomiasis Control Initiative

Dr Wendy Harrison

In 2002, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Programme granted a £20 million award to establish the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI). The award has been directed to delivering treatment for the parasitic disease schistosomiasis (snail fever or bilharzia) and intestinal worms (hookworm, whipworm and roundworm) to millions of sub-Saharan Africans at high risk of serious disease. Since then SCI has received additional support from the Gates Foundation, plus from the USAID funded NTD programme, the British Government DFID, the ENDFUND, and several other private donations. SCI has also been consistently ranked as one of the most cost-effective charities by independent charity evaluator, GiveWell.

SCI works with the World Health Organisation and national governments to improve the health and development of the world’s poorest populations, aiming to eliminate the poverty sustaining and life-threatening effects of schistosomiasis and intestinal worms. These diseases impair child development, cause internal organ damage, and can increase the risk of HIV in women. SCI works with local partners to deliver life-changing treatments to mainly school-age children. Studies have shown that early and regular treatment can reduce the damaging effects of the diseases, increase school attendance by 25% and has the potential to increase future earnings by up to 40%. With the support received to date SCI has already facilitated over 150 million treatments and plans todouble that number by 2020 in 15 countries.

Sickle Cell

Professor Tom Williams

Tom Williams is Professor of Haemoglobinopathy Research at Imperial. His research focus is on the burden and clinical consequences of inherited defects of red blood cells in low-income countries and their relationships to malaria and other diseases.  The classic example of such defects is sickle haemoglobin, where carriers (who have sickle cell trait), are strongly protected against malaria while homozygotes (who have sickle cell disease) suffer chronic ill health and premature mortality.  Professor Williams is based at the KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya, and collaborates widely with colleagues throughout the region.