Discovery by Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Could Lead to Drugs to Fight Yeast Infections

Article excerpt

For people with a compromised immune system, a yeast infection can be deadly. New research from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has solved how the yeast invades cells to cause illness.

About 80 percent of humans live in harmony with Candida albicans, a fungus that grows in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract. For patients with weakened immune systems or those recovering from surgery or chemotherapy, the yeast can be a killer. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Candida is the fourth-most-common cause of bloodstream infections among U.S. hospital patients.

Hao Wu and Jordan Tang, OMRF researchers, have published a new paper in The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal, which describes how C. albicans uses a Trojan horse mechanism to enter and kill cells.

Tang, who holds the J.G. Puterbaugh Chair in Medical Research at OMRF, and whose career has included innovations in stomach digestion, AIDS and Alzheimer's disease, said he became interested in the yeast because it does something familiar to his other areas of research - it uses a kind of chemical "scissors" called proteases. …


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