DEC 24, 2015 12:51 PM PST

New Drug Combats Mold Disease

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Evans
People suffering from leukemia or lymphoma are particularly vulnerable to mold diseases such as aspergillosis and mucormycosis.  The drug voriconazole is often used to treat these infections, but causes serious side effects such as kidney and liver damage.  Recently, researchers at the University of California, Davis, confirmed that the drug isavuconazole is just as effective as voriconazole, while causing far fewer side effects.
 
Aspergillus causes serious infections in the immunocompromised.

According to study author George Thompson, “molds are ubiquitous in the environment, but they are generally no consequence for people with intact immune systems … however, for leukemia and lymphoma patients, and others with compromised immune systems, some molds can be 90% fatal”.  

Aspergillosis is caused by mold in the genus Aspergillus.  The mold spores enter the lungs where they can grow into a “fungus ball”.  In the immunocompromised, the spores make their way into the bloodstream where the mold can infect the heart and kidneys.  Mucormycosis, on the other hand, is a disease caused by mold from the order Mucorales where hyphae grow in and around blood vessels. These molds typically infect the sinuses and brain, but can also spread to the gastrointestinal tract.  

In the UC Davis study, 35% of infections responded to isavuconazole, and 36.4% responded to voriconazole.  However, only 42.4% of patients taking isavuconazole reported side effects, compared to 59.8% taking voriconazole.  

Since isavuconazole can treat mold disease with fewer side effects, cancer patients aren’t forced to choose between treating the mold or treating the cancer.  According to Thompson, “when these patients get a bad infection, they still need more chemotherapy … it’s one thing to cure the infection but they end up dying of leukemia.  Now that there’s a drug with fewer side effects, patients can hopefully continue their chemotherapy with fewer interruptions”.

Sources: Futurity, Wikipedia
 
About the Author
  • Kerry received a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
You May Also Like
OCT 02, 2018
Videos
OCT 02, 2018
Learning how Bacterial Chemicals Impact Human Health
We play host to a huge number of microbes, and all the chemicals that they produce....
OCT 05, 2018
Microbiology
OCT 05, 2018
Reducing Pollution with Engineered Bacteria
A varsity of creative strategies have been proposed as solutions to climate change, from practical to outlandish....
OCT 25, 2018
Microbiology
OCT 25, 2018
Common Herbicides Increase Antibiotic Resistance
If we have to feed a growing planet, it may hurt us in the long run if the methods used in farming are actually increasing antibiotic-resistance in bacteria....
NOV 08, 2018
Microbiology
NOV 08, 2018
A Mix of Baby Saliva and Breastmilk Helps Regulate the Developing Microbiome
As we learn more about the infant microbiome, we may be able to help ensure that every baby is building a healthy one....
NOV 21, 2018
Microbiology
NOV 21, 2018
Human Antibody That can Neutralize West Nile Virus is Found
In 1999, there were 62 cases of West Nile Virus in New York State. Since then it has spread around the United States....
NOV 26, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 26, 2018
The Role of Clinical Lab Scientists
The clinical laboratory is the heart of any hospital or healthcare system. It is responsible for greater than 70% of medical diagnoses and decisions made b...
Loading Comments...