New weapon against fungal infections


Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver have discovered a new drug delivery method that allows the potent
anti-fungal agent Amphotericin B to be taken orally with only minimal
side effects.

Amphotericin B has been used for about 50 years but, when administered intravenously, it causes serious tissue damage at the site of injection and has significant side effects, notably severe kidney toxicity.

The new method uses a liquid preparation that incorporates
molecules of the drug in a fat-based formulation. This causes a different molecular reaction which attacks only the fungal cells and prevents the drug damaging healthy kidney cells, thus boosting effectiveness and dramatically reducing toxicity.

When the new drug delivery method was tested in animal models, against Candida albicans and aspergillosis, it proved to be effective in both cases and only minimally toxic.

A clinical study of the new delivery system, involving 50-100 patients, is planned for later in 2007.

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First Published in June 2007

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