Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of 20 conditions endemic in tropical areas, affecting people across 149 countries*. They most often impact impoverished communities, causing devastating health, social and economic consequences.

Each year, they impact the lives of more than one billion people. NTDs contribute to a cycle of poverty where people become too ill or disabled to work or attend school, which results in detrimental effects not only on their health and livelihoods, but on those of their families and communities.

Controlling NTDs is challenging – many are vector-borne – spread by living organisms that can transmit infections between humans, or from animals to humans – meaning they also often have complex life cycles. Additionally, many NTDs are spreading geographically due to climate change and migration.

Reducing the impact of NTDs requires partnership and collaboration, as well as addressing the diseases from multiple angles – better detection, surveillance and treatments. In particular, the availability of high-quality, low-cost diagnostic tools deployable in low-resource clinical settings will be key.

Our aim

Our aim is to work in partnership to support the elimination and control of NTDs, improving the quality of life and survival of people living with these diseases. We will deliver this impact by supporting the translation, development and implementation of new diagnostics and therapeutics.

Our approach

As part of our investment in Global Health, which will total more than £100 million, LifeArc is currently working with established organisations to further refine our strategy and investments in this area. Our initial work has focussed on building partnerships across the Global NTD community and consulting key opinion leaders. Our initial focus will be on a smaller number of NTDs impacting people in Sub-Saharan Africa, which may include:

  • Onchocerciasis
  • Lymphatic Filariasis
  • Schistosomiasis
  • Visceral Leishmaniasis

For each disease, published Target Product Profiles (TPP) provide clear goals with descriptions of design features, the types of specimens needed for diagnostic measurements, and performance characteristics such as clinical sensitivity and specificity. Utilising these, our scientific approach will:

  • Develop a detailed understanding of the disease biology, and the current care pathway, while focusing on the patient’s voice
  • Focus on diagnostic and biomarker translation
  • Monitor data – supporting surveillance and monitoring
  • Support the development and delivery of improved treatments, potentially including macrofilaricides for the treatment of filarial diseases.

Partnership and collaboration

Working with existing research and patient networks is a key part of our strategy. If you work in NTD research or support people living with NTDs and would like to discuss more with us, please use the form below to get in touch.

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World Health Organization. Archived from the original on 20 October 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2018.