PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Filarial worms cause a variety of tropical diseases in humans; however, they are difficult to study because they have complex life cycles that require arthropod intermediate hosts and mammalian definitive hosts. Research efforts in industrialized countries are further complicated by the fact that some filarial nematodes that cause disease in humans are restricted in host specificity to humans alone. This potentially makes the commitment to research difficult, expensive, and restrictive. Over 40 years ago, the United States National Institutes of Health–National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH-NIAID) established a resource from which investigators could obtain various filarial parasite species and life cycle stages without having to expend the effort and funds necessary to maintain the entire life cycles in their own laboratories. This centralized resource (The Filariasis Research Reagent Resource Center, or FR3) translated into cost savings to both NIH-NIAID and to principal investigators by freeing up personnel costs on grants and allowing investigators to divert more funds to targeted research goals. Many investigators, especially those new to the field of tropical medicine, are unaware of the scope of materials and support provided by the FR3. This review is intended to provide a short history of the contract, brief descriptions of the fiilarial species and molecular resources provided, and an estimate of the impact the resource has had on the research community, and describes some new additions and potential benefits the resource center might have for the ever-changing research interests of investigators.
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©2011 Michalski et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Michalski, Michelle L.; Griffiths, Kathryn G.; Williams, Steven A.; Kaplan, Ray M.; and Moorhead, Andrew, "The NIH-NIAID Filariasis Research Reagent Resource Center" (2011). Biological Sciences: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.