The Order involved in significant developments in leprosy research
The Order of Malta’s programme in France, consisting of financial support for laboratory research and clinical trials for leprosy, has provided important results. Launched in 2006, the programme refutes the World Health Organization’s declaration, in reply to the question of whether “leprosy has been eradicated”, that “only research has been wiped out” (WHO January 2007 bulletin).
The Order of Malta has been constantly engaged in combatting Hansen’s disease and in 2006 it started to help fund laboratory research and clinical trials. The MALTALEP programme, recognised by the World Health Organization, is now the main source of financing for leprosy research worldwide. Implemented with the greatest scientific rigour under the management and supervision of an International Committee and a Scientific Committee composed of international leprosy experts, the Order of Malta’s MALTALEP programme has supported projects presented by research laboratories from all continents.
In 2006, a project presented jointly by the University of Paris XII, the Inserrm U 655 Centre and the German Hain Lifescience laboratory was assigned 100,000 dollars over two years. The research aimed to create a band analyses kit for the molecular localization of drug resistance. This research ended in early December with a stem cell in-vitro test. At the initiative of Professor Jean Marie Decazes, Infection Control Practitioner and President of the Organizing Committee of the MALTALEP programme, on 1 December 2009 the first encouraging results were presented at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris. On the strength of this outcome, the Ordre de Malte France decided to offer the MALTALEP programme a second term of funding.
Laboratory research: «The Molecular Genetics of the Host Response in Cases of “Reverse Reaction” in Type 1 Leprosy». Joint project presented by France (Inserm U 550), Vietnam (Hospital for Dermato-Venereology, Ho Chi Minh City) and Canada (Department of Human Genetics and Medicine, McGill University, Montreal)
Project presented by France (Inserm), Vietnam (Hospital for Dermato-Venereology, Ho Chi Minh City) and Canada (Department of Human Genetics and Medicine, McGill University, Montreal). This research has led to the «Identification of the Complete Set of Genetic Factors for Predisposition to Leprosy». Presented by Professor Alcaïs of Inserm’s Research Centre, it continues the work carried out by the same group of researchers in 2006/2007.
Project of Curitiba University (Brazil). Very interesting not only because it involves a South-South programme (patients and laboratories are all in the southern hemisphere) but also because the patients under observation live in the Amazon forest, an area never studied before.