Human Fungal Infections: Need to Improve Diagnosis with New Biomarkers Developed by Translational Research

Aamir Shahzad1, Randall J Cohrs2, Adong Shen3 and Cornelia Lass-Flörl4*

Keywords: Fungal infections; Invasive fungal disease; Translational medicine; Fungal diseases; Biomarker; Diagnosis; IFD

The burden of invasive fungal disease (IFD) continues to increase as a result of improved medical intervention and supportive care 1].

The growing number of patients with a variety of risk factors (e.g. transplantation, chemotherapy, HIV infection, use of corticosteroids or new immunosuppressive agents) have caused an increase in incidence of invasive infections in recent years [2]. Millions of  individuals worldwide are affected or at risk and mortality is high [3].  Despite these facts, IFD remains nderstudied and underdiagnosed as compared with other infectious diseases. Therefore, it is important to raise the general awareness of this problem. Over 600 different fungi have been reported to infect humans, ranging from common to fatal infections. This issue requires immediate attention. Moreover, there has been an increase in rare fungal infections [4]. This epidemiological shift indicates the need for fast and precise identification of the pathogen, as most of these fungi are either completely or at least partially resistant to available antifungals. Among these rare fungal infections, the Zygomycetes are the most commonly encountered, and in some institutions the increase in infection by these organisms appears to be associated with the use of newer antifungal drugs [5].

Shahzad et al., Mol Med Ther 2012, 1:1

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