Fighting Fungal Infections

Scientists find way to enhance activity of peptides that battle them

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THURSDAY, March 11, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A protease-inhibitor cocktail increases the anti-microbial action of promising new peptides that kill several medically important fungi, some of which are resistant to current drugs, says a University at Buffalo study.

The cocktail protects the peptides by inactivating enzymes programmed to destroy the peptides. This protection lets the peptides more than double their anti-microbial activity, the study found.

The findings were presented March 11 at the International Association of Dental Research meeting in Hawaii.

One peptide in particular, MUC7 12-mer, has shown particular promise for treating drug-resistant fungi. This peptide is a piece of a larger, naturally occurring human salivary mucin molecule.

The researchers note there are only a handful of drugs available to treat fungal infections. The advent of drug-resistant fungal infections poses a special risk to people with depressed immune systems, including those with HIV/AIDS, and organ-transplant and chemotherapy patients.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about fungal infections.

SOURCE: University at Buffalo, news release, MArch 11, 2004

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