Desperately Seeking Therapies for Cerebral Malaria.
Malaria is a deadly infectious disease caused by parasites of the spp. that takes an estimated 435,000 lives each year, primarily among young African children. For most children, malaria is a febrile illness that resolves with time, but in ∼1% of cases, for reasons we do not understand, malaria becomes severe and life threatening. Cerebral malaria (CM) is the most common form of severe malaria, accounting for the vast majority of childhood deaths from malaria despite highly effective antiparasite chemotherapy. Thus, CM is one of the most prevalent lethal brain diseases, and one for which we have no effective therapy. CM is, in part, an immune-mediated disease, and to fully understand CM, it is essential to appreciate the complex relationship between the malarial parasite and the human immune system. In this study, we provide a primer on malaria for immunologists and, in this context, review progress identifying targets for therapeutic intervention.