Friday, 8 March 2013
A New Screening System for the Identification of New Antifungal Drugs
A patent application for a new testing device is under review that provides a more efficient method of identifying new anti-fungal drugs.
Infections acquired in hospitals are the 4th largest cause of death in the U.S, contributing an extra $5 billion in medical cost each year and can add several weeks to the length of stay in hospitals for those infected. A large number of these are due to fungal infections which have a high mortality rate compared with bacterial infections e.g. cases of some types of aspergillosis have a 90% mortality rate.
Current treatments are not very effective because fungi are made up of 3-D structures that made it difficult for drugs to act upon and so can resist the treatment. These structures are known as 'biofilms' and there is a need for new drugs that can prevent or control these 'biofilms'.
This new development is a testing device that allows for a more effective way to analyse new drugs and see how well they act against fungi that could lead to the replacement of the existing 96-well plate assay (fig. 1), which is time consuming and costly. See patent here.