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
MAY 07, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
An 8 Minute DNA Test For Salmonella
MAY 07, 2020
An 8 Minute DNA Test For Salmonella
Australian researchers have created a sensitive, super-fast test for five different serotypes of Salmonella which could ...
MAY 13, 2020
Microbiology
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to COVID-19 Mortality
MAY 13, 2020
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to COVID-19 Mortality
The COVID-19 pandemic has swept through various countries with widely discrepant mortality rates.
MAY 31, 2020
Microbiology
Zika Virus Infections in Early Life Can Cause Brain Damage
MAY 31, 2020
Zika Virus Infections in Early Life Can Cause Brain Damage
The Zika virus, which is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, poses significant risks to the developing fetus, and new work ...
JUN 29, 2020
Microbiology
Childhood Vaccine May Help Prevent Severe COVID-19 Cases
JUN 29, 2020
Childhood Vaccine May Help Prevent Severe COVID-19 Cases
Vaccines that contain live attenuated viruses may be giving people some protection from serious cases of COVID-19 that i ...
JUN 30, 2020
Microbiology
Researchers Find a Flu They Say Has the Potential to Cause a Pandemic
JUN 30, 2020
Researchers Find a Flu They Say Has the Potential to Cause a Pandemic
The world's attention is on a virus right now - the pandemic coronavirus that causes COVID-19. But researchers are still ...
JUL 07, 2020
Immunology
A Step Towards a Cure for Rare Polio-Like Disease in Children
JUL 07, 2020
A Step Towards a Cure for Rare Polio-Like Disease in Children
Acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, is a rare but devastatingly debilitating neurologic disease in children caused by a resp ...
Loading Comments...