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The untapped cell biology of neglected tropical diseases


The World Health Organization lists a constellation of 17 tropical diseases that afflict approximately one in six individuals on the planet and, until recently, few resources have been devoted to the treatment and eradication of those diseases. They are often referred to as the diseases of the "bottom billion," because they are most prevalent among the poorest individuals in impoverished tropical nations. However, the few studies that have been performed reveal an extraordinary world of molecular and cellular adaptations that facilitate the pathogens' survival in hosts ranging from insects to humans. A compelling case can be made that even a modest investment toward understanding the basic molecular and cell biology of these neglected pathogens has a high probability of yielding exciting new cellular mechanisms and insights into novel ways of combating these diseases.

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