02986: Catechol O-Methyltransferase as a Molecular Drug Target in Heartworm

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $100,556
William Witola, BVetMEd, PhD; University of Illinois
April 1, 2022 - March 31, 2024

Sponsor(s): Collie Health Foundation, Golden Retriever FoundationĀ®, United States Australian Shepherd Foundation

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Cardiology, Immunology and Infectious Disease
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One Health: Yes


Dirofilaria immitis (heartworm) is a filarial worm that infects dogs and can cause congestive heart failure leading to death. Heartworm, transmitted by mosquitoes, is the most important parasite of dogs in the United States, and has spread to all states. There is no vaccine against heartworm, and current drugs in use have only modest effect, and are prone to complications. Therefore, it is urgently crucial that new effective and safe drugs are developed for treating heartworm infection in dogs. Investigators have identified and characterized a unique and potentially essential enzyme (herein called DiMT) in heartworm. This project’s goal is to identify inhibitors for the activity of DiMT and determine their efficacy in killing the parasite. Because DiMT is not found in dogs, validated DiMT inhibitors can ultimately be used as lead-compounds for potentially developing a novel class of drugs for effective and safe treatment of heartworm infections in dogs.


None at this time

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