Fungal Brain Infection Results from Host's Own Immune Response
A particular fungal infection is responsible for more than 220,000 cases of cryptococcosis worldwide each year in people with HIV and AIDS, with nearly 181,000 of those resulting in death.
New research explores its cause with an eye toward improving treatment one day.
The infection, Cryptococcus neoformans, causes the disease cryptococcosis. Cryptococcosis is a major cause of central nervous system — and brain — related mortalities, especially in people with HIV and AIDS.
“The general therapeutic approach is to control the fungus with antifungal drugs, and because it’s linked to immune defects, to activate immune response in the patient to strengthen natural host defenses,” says Michal Olszewski, D.V.M., Ph.D., associate professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Michigan Medicine. “These treatments are actually not particularly effective and often result in the worsening of patient conditions.”
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