New trends in the search for alternative antifungal therapies
The paper addresses the issue of fungal infections in the context of growing resistance to currently available antifungal agents and the development of new antimycotics. Fungal pathogens belonging to the genuses Candida, Aspergillus, Pneumocystis and Cryptococcus account for about 90% of all fungal infections. Candida albicans infections are a global clinical problem, and systemic candidiasis is considered one of the most severe fungal infections, with mortality rates of about 40% despite treatment. Currently, there are five classes of antimycotics available, of which only three (azoles, echinocandins and polyenes) are used for systemic infections. The limited variety of available therapies as well as their overuse in both therapy and prevention have contributed to the growing resistance among fungal pathogens. Many mechanisms of resistance to antimycotics have been identified. These include in particular: mutations in genes encoding target proteins, increase or decrease in target protein, protein pump activity, biofilm formation or activation of stress response. The growing incidence of fungal infections and the difficulty of their treatment have forced the search for alternative therapeutic agents with new mechanisms of action. Due to the eukaryotic nature of fungal cells, recent trends in literature imply that novel agents should specifically target virulence factors or stress response of the pathogen.