EURESFUN - EUropean RESistance FUNgal
According to the World Health Organisation data, infectious diseases represent the most common cause of death in the world. Among infectious diseases, fungal infections take a prominent position, with their frequency having steadily increased in the human population worldwide over the past decades. Changes in life-style, the AIDS epidemic, the ageing of the population, increases in organ transplants, as well as the long-term use of cancer and immunosuppressive therapies, the development of new invasive medical implants are all factors increasing the vulnerability of the human population to fungal diseases (J. Infect. Dis. 167:1247). This scenario is further complicated by the paucity of effective antifungal drugs that are available to treat life-threatening deep-seated systemic infections, and by the concomitant emergence of clinical antifungal resistance.
Resistance of human pathogenic fungi towards the currently available antifungal agents, whether intrinsic or acquired, has a strong impact on the length of hospitalization as well as the number of invasive procedures that are associated with patient treatment. Therefore, antifungal resistance contributes to an increase in the social and financial cost of fungal infections.
The EURESFUN (EUropean RESistance FUNgal) network will utilize genomics-based integrated approaches to study antifungal resistance in relevant fungal pathogens (Candida, Aspergillus). This network will study distinct resistance mechanisms (target mutations, drug efflux, signal transduction, transcriptional activation, cell wall alterations, biofilm formation) all of which can contribute individually or in combination to antifungal resistance in clinical isolates. Using microarray strategies, systematic deletion/overexpression approaches, the network will also elucidate new resistance mechanisms. This approach will unravel potential novel targets for antifungal drug discovery, but also yield diagnostic tools and mutations suitable for the use in resistance monitoring and surveillance.
The EURESFUN network was constructed on the initiative of several European laboratories in order to group on one panel the highest level of expertise available in the field on antifungal resistance. To lead this network, a Coordinator, Prof. Dominique Sanglard from the CHUV in Lausanne, with a leading position in the understanding of mechanisms of antifungal drug resistance was chosen. The other partners of this network are highly qualified and internationally recognized individuals needed for the completion of each of the tasks foreseen in this research programme.
Project start: 1st December, 2005
Project end: 30th November, 2008
Candida albicans Aspergillus fumigatus