Pharmaceuticals & Vitamin D : Antifungals


Nylon-3 Polymers to Treat Fungal Infections

UW–Madison researchers have found that nylon-3 polymers developed in their lab display potent antifungal activity against a broad spectrum of common fungal pathogens, with minimal toxicity towards mammalian cells. The polymers have some activity alone, and when used in combination with existing drugs provide synergistic effects against Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans and Aspergillus fumigatus strains, including some resistant strains.

Synergistic combination offers efficacy with significantly reduced amounts of drug and corresponding toxicity, which could potentially expand the relevant patient population.

The polymers were designed to resemble host-defense peptides (HDPs), which are natural molecules that exhibit antimicrobial activities.

Treating Fungal Infections with New Forazoline Compounds

UW–Madison researchers have developed antifungal compounds isolated from Actinomadura, a bacterium found in a species of sea squirt. After extensive chemical isolation and characterization, the researchers identified a new class of compounds called ‘Forazolines’ that possess antifungal activity. Forazoline A was shown to be effective against Candida albicans in a mouse model.

Beta-Peptides with Antifungal Activity

UW-Madison researchers have developed a less toxic alternative for treating yeast infections— synthetic beta-peptides with antifungal properties. These relatively short peptides contain cyclically constrained beta-amino acid residues. They are designed to adopt helical conformations that mimic the globally amphiphilic alpha helical conformations of many host-defense peptides, but they remain effective under physiological conditions that render host-defense alpha-peptides inactive against fungal pathogens. Like Amphotericin B, these peptides probably act by disrupting fungal cell walls. In contrast to Amphotericin B, these peptides do not appear to disrupt human red blood cell membranes at concentrations that kill C. albicans.