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Innovative treatment options for fungal infections

A new article in the scientific journal "Biomacromolecules" shows the conceptual development of carrier systems for anti-fungal drugs.
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Image: Jan-Peter Kasper/FSU

Published: 30 April 2020, 10:42

Whether through organ transplants, HIV infections or chemotherapies - if the immune system is weakened, fungal infections can easily spread. Due to the increase in the number of immunocompromised patients in recent years, these so-called mycoses have gained intensified attention in medicine and research.

The trick of the pathogens, e.g. of Aspergillus fumigatus: They invade cells of the intact immune system and remain there unnoticed at first. At the time of an immunodeficiency, these pathogens can cause infections that lead to mortality rates of up to 90% in patients in intensive care.

Direct treatment with antimycotics, i.e. anti-fungal agents, can be challenging, especially if drugs suppressing the immune system have to be taken at the same time, but also because antimycotics themselves may be toxic or the pathogens may be resistant to these agents.

In the Collaborative Research Center PolyTarget, we are therefore working on the promising approach of encapsulating these drugs or developing nanoscale carrier materials for drug transport in the body. In the recently published article, scientists of the working groups of Prof. Dr. Axel A. Brakhage and Prof. Dr. Ulrich S. Schubert were able to bind several copies of a complex and currently used antifungal compound to two polymer carrier materials. These polymers could be characterised in such a way that they could be precisely coupled with the active substance molecules and had an inhibitory or killing effect on fungal growth even when the concentration was below the toxic limit.

You'll find the complete article titled "Caspofungin Functionalized Polymethacrylates with Antifungal Properties" here.

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