Microorganisms like bacteria and fungi are increasingly becoming resistant to our best drugs, which is hurtling us towards a terrifying future where once-easily-treated infections become potentially life-threatening again. In a new approach to this problem, researchers from the University at Buffalo and Temple University have tested an alternative to antibiotics that uses existing drugs to starve a fungal infection of vital nutrients.
The fungal species Candidas albicans is commonly found in the human mouth and gut, and most of the time it’s harmless. But this opportunistic microbe has been known to flare up and cause yeast infections like oral thrush or denture-related stomatitis, and in extreme cases can find its way into the bloodstream with potentially deadly results.
The bad news is that like many other microbes, C. albicans is becoming more resist to antifungal drugs. Worse still, only three classes of antifungal drugs exist and they’re all starting to fail, with no new ones ready to take their place. If nothing is done about the problem, this common infection could become far more lethal.
So the researchers on the new study investigated another approach. Rather than developing new antifungal drugs, the team found that existing drugs used for other purposes could instead be used against fungi through other means.