New research offers hope for vaccine and therapies for deadly infections

December 20, 2013

Mucormycosis is a deadly infection that strikes people with weakened immune systems when certain types of fungi, called Mucorales, invade the patients' cells. A novel protein on the surface of the Mucorales cells, called CotH, makes this invasion possible.

In a finding that could lead to the development of a vaccine and therapies for mucormycosis, a research team at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) reported today in an online, ahead-of-print study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that they can prevent human cell invasion and successfully treat mucormycosis in disease models using antibodies that block the CotH protein.

"There are no vaccines or effective therapies available today to halt the highly fatal mucormycosis infection, and there is an urgent need for these strategies to protect patients with ," said Ashraf S. Ibrahim, PhD, an LA BioMed lead researcher and corresponding author for the study. "Our research lays the groundwork for developing the antibodies to prevent and treat mucormycosis in high-risk patients. These findings also could lead to diagnostic tests for the disease."

Patients with weakened immune systems, malnutrition or acidosis (hyperglycemia or diabetic ketoacidosis) are at increased risk of infection. Dr Ibrahim's group found treatment with anti-CotH antibodies or CotH-targeted RNAi blocked the and protected against mucormycosis. In a commentary accompanying the research, J. Andrew Alspaugh, MD, professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at Duke University Medical Center, discusses how these findings could contribute to the development of mucormycosis therapies.

Explore further: Flesh-eating fungal infection can follow natural disasters, study finds

More information: CotH3 mediates fungal invasion of host cells during mucormycosis, J Clin Invest. doi:10.1172/JCI71349
Hostile takeover: fungal protein promotes host cell invasion, J Clin Invest. 2014;124(1):74–76. doi:10.1172/JCI73585

Related Stories

Flesh-eating fungal infection can follow natural disasters, study finds

December 6, 2012
(HealthDay)—After a natural disaster, doctors should be on the lookout for outbreaks of a rare but deadly "flesh-eating" fungal infection, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday.

Newly identified immune receptor may activate B cells in autoimmunity

December 18, 2013
A newly identified immune protein influences each person's response to vaccines and risk for autoimmune diseases like lupus and multiple sclerosis, according to a study published today by researchers from the School of Medicine ...

Researchers discover mechanism controlling the development of myelodysplastic

December 17, 2013
Researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center have discovered a control mechanism that can trigger the development of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), a group of blood cancers. This finding may lead to therapies capable of preventing ...

Animal vaccine study yields insights that may advance HIV vaccine research

December 18, 2013
A vaccine study in monkeys designed to identify measurable signs that the animals were protected from infection by SIV, the monkey version of HIV, as well as the mechanism of such protection has yielded numerous insights ...

Monoclonal antibody effective against norovirus

July 24, 2013
Researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) provide the first proof of concept data showing that a monoclonal antibody can neutralize human norovirus. This research, which could one ...

Recommended for you

Molecular hitchhiker on human protein signals tumors to self-destruct

July 24, 2017
Powerful molecules can hitch rides on a plentiful human protein and signal tumors to self-destruct, a team of Vanderbilt University engineers found.

Researchers develop new method to generate human antibodies

July 24, 2017
An international team of scientists has developed a method to rapidly produce specific human antibodies in the laboratory. The technique, which will be described in a paper to be published July 24 in The Journal of Experimental ...

New vaccine production could improve flu shot accuracy

July 24, 2017
A new way of producing the seasonal flu vaccine could speed up the process and provide better protection against infection.

A sodium surprise: Engineers find unexpected result during cardiac research

July 20, 2017
Irregular heartbeat—or arrhythmia—can have sudden and often fatal consequences. A biomedical engineering team at Washington University in St. Louis examining molecular behavior in cardiac tissue recently made a surprising ...

Want to win at sports? Take a cue from these mighty mice

July 20, 2017
As student athletes hit training fields this summer to gain the competitive edge, a new study shows how the experiences of a tiny mouse can put them on the path to winning.

'Smart' robot technology could give stroke rehab a boost

July 19, 2017
Scientists say they have developed a "smart" robotic harness that might make it easier for people to learn to walk again after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.