The anti-Aspergillus drug pipeline: Is the glass half full or empty?

Nir Osherov, Dimitrios P. Kontoyiannis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aspergillosis has emerged as important human mycoses, in view of the ever expanding population at risk. The emergence of resistance to the most commonly used drugs for aspergillosis, the azoles, themediocre activity, and frequent toxicity of the current antifungal armamentarium, support the need for development of novel antifungals for treatment of this disease. In this minireview, we describe recent efforts by small drug companies and University research labs to develop novel therapies for invasive aspergillus infections. We specifically discuss four small-molecule antifungals (T-2307, E1210/APX001, ASP2397, and F901318) with novel modes-of-action, which are currently entering phase I clinical trials. In addition, we provide a nonexhaustive discussion of some interesting, yet early developments in the quest for improved therapeutic strategies such as (i) novel formulations of amphotericin B including AMB nanoparticle suspensions and AMB-arabinogalactan or AMB-PEG conjugates that show low toxicity and high efficacy in preclinical animal models, (ii) repurposed drugs that synergize with existing antifungals (clozafimine, trichostatin A, MGCD290, geldanamycin, tacrolimus, cyclosporin), (iii) natural products (psoriasin, humidimycin), and (iv) immunotherapy using adoptive transfer of activated immune cells with antifungal activity. We argue that despite the plethora of candidates, the extremely low success rates of drug development leading to clinically useful drugs reinforces the need for continued clinical reliance on mainstream antifungals and their improved derivatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-124
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Mycology
Volume55
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Antifungal drug discovery
  • Immunotherapy
  • Natural products

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