Evolving Thoughts

Evolution, culture, philosophy and chocolate! John Wilkins' continuing struggle to come to terms with impermanence... "Humanus sum, nihil humanum a me alienum puto" - Terence

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Malaria defeats the immune system

This is not something I usually blog on, being ignorant of the relevant science, but I know Alan Cowman, who is a wonderful person as well as a dedicated immunologist, trying for actual high-minded reasons to figure out how one of the world's killer diseases works. He and his team at my previous employer, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, has uncovered how the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, tricks the immune system into ignoring it.

Malaria is not well-researched except by generally altruistic organisations and funding bodies like the Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute, because there's no money in it for the pharamceutical companies. Alan is funded by HHMRI and kudos to all concerned.

David Hull noted that science proceeds despite the intentions and goals of the researchers. Sometimes it proceeds because the researchers are really well-intentioned as well.