Possible new candida treatment – brominated furanones

Candida albicans is a virulent fungus which is carried by about 75% of the population. (An estimated 25,000 Americans develop severe fungal infections each year, leading to 10,000 deaths despite the use of anti-fungal drugs. The associated cost to the US health care system has been estimated at $1 billion a year.)

Typically the fungus is harmless but, in individuals with HIV or otherwis e compromised immune systems, it can cause candidiasis, which has a high mortality rate. Over recent years pathogenic fungi such as candida albicans have developed growing resistance to anti-fungal drugs.  Moreover, the fungi can also form biofilms that attach to surfaces and are up to 1,000 times more resistant to anti-fungals than the candida itself.

Professor Dacheng Ren of the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering in SU's L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science and his collaborator, chemistry professor Yan-Yeung Luk of SU's College of Arts and Sciences have now developed new brominated furanones that exhibit powerful anti-fungal properties and, in their  tests, reduced fungal growth by more than 80%. They published the results of their work in the Journal of Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology.

The researchers' genomic study suggests that furanones have different genetic targets than current anti-fungal agents and thus may avoid drug resistance acquired in the past. The research team has also shown previously that these furanones inhibit bacterial biofilm formation; thus they may help control chronic infections where biofilms often appear, on surgical, dental and other implants.

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First Published in December 2009


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