Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a major global health problem affecting nearly 1.6 billion people, most of whom live in low- and middle-income countries. NTDs are caused by a wide range of organisms and can be transmitted by a variety of vectors and intermediate hosts (mosquitoes, sand flies, black flies, tsetse flies, triatomine insects, and snails) as well as by contaminated water, food, and soil. Since available medical or public health measures are currently inadequate to control most NTDs, research is urgently needed to identify and evaluate new tools and interventions. Efforts are also needed to strengthen local research capacity and infrastructure in endemic areas.
NIAID established the Tropical Medicine Research Centers (TMRC) program in 1991 to fund NTD research centers in disease-endemic countries. The centers are designed to conduct research on the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of NTDs, and to build in-country research capacity. The program has increased capacity of local TMRC awardees to support independent research activities, conduct future clinical trials, and implement new treatment, prevention, and vector control strategies.
The TMRC program has been renewed several times since 1991, most recently in 2022. At present the TMRC program includes six centers with field sites in eight countries: Peru, Vietnam, Brazil, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, the Philippines, and Uganda. In addition to the six centers, a Coordinating Center was awarded in 2022 to facilitate collaboration and data sharing across the Program.
For more information about the TMRC network, please visit https://tmrc-network.org.
Main Areas of Focus
- To conduct research on NTDs such as schistosomiasis, hookworm infection, ascariasis, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, lymphatic filariasis, foodborne trematodiases, leishmaniasis, and neurocysticercosis.
- To support clinical and field site development.
- To build capacity and enable TMRCs to conduct future clinical trials, implement new treatment and prevention strategies, and develop novel vector control strategies.
There are six TMRCs worldwide, including two in Africa, two in South America, and two in Asia, that conduct clinical studies, implement new treatment and prevention strategies, and develop novel vector control strategies.