Une meilleure compréhension des interactions entre le champignon et son hôte: une clef pour la mise au point de nouvelles thérapies antifongiques

 

Don Sheppard

Institut de recherche du Centre universitaire de santé McGill

 

Domaine :  maladies infectieuses et immunitaires

Programme chercheurs-boursiers de mérite

Concours 2017-2018

Fungal infections are common and devastating in patients whose immune systems do not work properly or those with long-term lung disease.  Our research program seeks to understand at a molecular level how molds and other fungi can cause human disease.  We have identified a type of glue that fungi such as the mold Aspergillus make in order to attach to human tissues and evade our immune defences.  We are now investigating strategies to destroy this glue or to prevent its synthesis by Aspergillus in order to develop new therapies to treat these infections.  In parallel we have discovered several immune molecules that are used by healthy people to fight off infection with fungi. 

We are now studying ways to use these molecules as therapies for patients with abnormal immune systems who are infected with fungi or at risk for developing fungal infection.  Finally, we have discovered that there are important differences in how antifungal drugs work to treat established fungal infection as compared with how they prevent the establishment of disease in uninfected patients.  These studies have already helped to design antifungal strategies that are more effective in the prevention of fungal infection in patients with impaired immune systems who are at high risk for developing infection.  We are now building on these discoveries to develop similar approaches to antifungal therapy that are tailored to patients with established fungal infection.