Section Iv Cancer And Infectious Diseases

Editor: Jacob J. Plattner, Chiron Corp Emeryville, CA

Chapter 17. Progress in Antifungal Drug Discovery

Mark B. Anderson, Terry Roemer, and Robyn Fabrey Elitra Pharmaceuticals 3510 Dunhill Street, San Diego CA 92121

Introduction - The incidence of opportunistic fungal infections such as Aspergillus species, Candida spp. (C. albicans and others) and Cryptococcus neoformans has been increasing worldwide despite active research programs devoted to the discovery and development of novel antifungal agents (1,2). Effectively treating opportunistic fungal infections represents a significant threat to the general human condition, especially those with compromised immune systems brought on by chemotherapy treatment for cancer, organ transplants, surgery, and inflictions with HIV/AIDS or other immune compromising events (3,4). A second growing concern is the incidence of drug resistance of fungal pathogens to the currently known classes of antifungal agents used in the clinic (5,6). These two factors accentuate the urgency for the ongoing rapid identification of exploitable antifungal targets, to develop safer and more effective therapeutic agents, and to discover new chemical entities (NCE) to fight current and drug resistant fungal infections (7). This paper examines a select number of emerging antifungal compounds and captures recent advances in antifungal agents of a known mechanism of action.

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