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Future Microbiol. 2014;9(4):523-42. doi: 10.2217/fmb.14.18.

Elucidating drug resistance in human fungal pathogens.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A8, Canada.


Fungal pathogens cause life-threatening infections in immunocompetent and immunocompromised individuals. Millions of people die each year due to fungal infections, comparable to the mortality attributable to tuberculosis or malaria. The three most prevalent fungal pathogens are Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans and Aspergillus fumigatus. Fungi are eukaryotes like their human host, making it challenging to identify fungal-specific therapeutics. There is a limited repertoire of antifungals in clinical use, and drug resistance and host toxicity compromise the clinical utility. The three classes of antifungals for treatment of invasive infections are the polyenes, azoles and echinocandins. Understanding mechanisms of resistance to these antifungals has been accelerated by global and targeted approaches, which have revealed that antifungal drug resistance is a complex phenomenon involving multiple mechanisms. Development of novel strategies to block the emergence of drug resistance and render resistant pathogens responsive to antifungals will be critical to treating life-threatening fungal infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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