The fungal steering system a route to infection
Most of us are aware of infectionscaused by bacteria, but what we don't think about is infections caused byfungi. One of the biggest killers is the fungus Candida albicans which livesinside us as a harmless round yeast. But in patients with a weak immunesystem the fungus can escape into the bloodstream where it forms tiny threadlike filaments. These filaments bury down into the tissue below and can form fatalinfections that are very hard to treat in internal organs like the kidney. We areinvestigating what makes Candida albicans so good at invading the humanbody something most fungi cannot do.
What we've found is that these microscopic filaments have a sense of direction and they can steer as they grow. This meansthat when they become adhered to our skin or our blood vessels, their filaments can probe to find weak points and invade the tissue underneath. Our research aim is tofind ways to disable this steering process because without it the funguscannot invade. If we can do this and halt this process we should be able to savemillions of lives every year.