Navigation Links
Predicting fatal fungal infections

June 15, 2009 (BRONX, NY) In a study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have identified cells in blood that predict which HIV-positive individuals are most likely to develop deadly fungal meningitis, a major cause of HIV-related death. This form of meningitis affects more than 900,000 HIV-infected people globallymost of them in sub-Saharan Africa and other areas of the world where antiretroviral therapy for HIV is not available.

A major cause of fungal meningitis is Cryptococcus neoformans, a yeast-like fungus commonly found in soil and in bird droppings. Virtually everyone has been infected with Cryptococcus neoformans, but a healthy immune system keeps the infection from ever causing disease.

The risk of developing fungal meningitis from Cryptococcus neoformans rises dramatically when people have weakened immunity, due to HIV infection or other reasons including the use of immunosuppressive drugs after organ transplantation, or for treating autoimmune diseases or cancer. Knowing which patients are most likely to develop fungal meningitis would allow costly drugs for preventing fungal disease to be targeted to those most in need. (In the U.S., the widespread use of antiretroviral therapy by HIV-infected people, and their preventive use of anti-fungal drugs, has dramatically reduced their rate of fungal meningitis from Cryptococcus neoformans to about 2%.)

In this study, Liise-anne Pirofski, M.D., describes a technique for predicting which HIV-infected patients are at greatest risk for developing fungal meningitis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans. Dr. Pirofski is chief in the division of infectious diseases at Einstein.

Dr. Pirofski and her colleagues counted the number of immune cells known as IgM memory B cells in the bloodstream of three groups of individuals: people infected with HIV who had a history of fungal meningitis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans; people infected with HIV but with no history of the disease; and those with no history of either HIV infection or the disease.

"We were astounded to find a profound difference in the level of these IgM memory B cells between the HIV-infected groups," said Dr. Pirofski. "The HIV-infected people with fungal meningitis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans had much lower levels of these cells."

The research team wanted to know if the lower levels of IgM memory B cells in certain HIV-infected individuals resulted from the fungal disease, or whether their reduced levels of these cells preceded their development of the disease.

To find out, Dr. Pirofski analyzed frozen blood samples taken from HIV-infected patients before they had developed fungal meningitis due to Cryptococcus neoformans. Years before these HIV-infected patients were diagnosed with meningitis, their blood had far fewer IgM memory B cells than HIV-infected patients who didn't come down with the disease. This suggests that some people are predisposed to develop fungal meningitis because they have low levels of IgM memory B cells that may be due to their genetic makeup.

These findings could be important for many other immunocompromised patients in addition to those infected with HIV. "We think that knowing whether transplant recipients or other patients taking immunosuppressive drugs have low numbers of IgM memory B cells could be useful in deciding which patients should receive antifungal drugs to prevent meningitis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans," says Dr. Pirofski.


Contact: Deirdre Branley
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Researchers determine predicting factors of positive lung cancer diagnoses in chest radiographs
2. Predicting higher risk for prostate cancer diagnosis
3. U study shows MRI-based method holds promise for predicting treatment outcomes in patients with AF
4. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures together more useful for predicting cardiovascular risk
5. Progress Made in Predicting Breast Cancer Risk
6. Researchers discover strategy for predicting the immunity of vaccines
7. Genetic Testing No Real Help in Predicting Type 2 Diabetes
8. Predicting the future for patients with severe traumatic brain injury
9. Novel imaging approach may assist in predicting success of treatment for atrial fibrillation
10. Prototype test for predicting clinical outcome for melanoma patients
11. Research highlights problems of predicting birthweights in obese mothers
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Predicting fatal fungal infections
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... RoamRight, a leading ... with Public Television’s Travel With Kids to promote family vacations around ... family as they explore international destinations and educate families about the people and places ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Advocare Orthopedic ... orthopedic care. Led by John Vitolo, M.D., the center offers their patients ... team at Advocare Orthopedic & Sports Medicine is ready to help their patients ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... International telepathology consultations ... and KingMed Diagnostics researchers. Their review of more than 1,500 ... UPMC pathologists resulted in significantly altered treatment plans for more than half of ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) announced ... Day 2015. On Nov. 30, ASCP shared its “Give a minute. Get tested. Find ... and the importance of getting tested for HIV. , ASCP has asked members to ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... An inventor from Charlottesville, Va., is concerned about the need for peace and ... due to loud noises," she said, "so I decided that there needs to be ... radio waves and microwaves." , The baby BABY MUFF prevents loud noises, radio waves ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Texas , Nov. 30, 2015  Hanger, Inc. ... amendment and restatement of the terms of its previously ... Solicitation") relating to its $200,000,000 aggregate principal amount 7⅛% ... other things, (i) the consent fees payable pursuant to ... on the Notes and (iii) the expiration date of ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... NAMUR , Belgium , Nov. 30, ... life sciences company focused on developing blood-based diagnostic tests for ... announced the Company will present at the LD Micro Conference, ... Los Angeles, CA. Attending from VolitionRx will ... and Scott Powell , Vice President of Investor Relations. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , November 30, 2015 PFE ... at up to 10 G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) targets ... to research and develop potential new medicines directed at ... multiple therapeutic areas. --> Heptares Therapeutics ("Heptares"), ... and wholly-owned subsidiary of Sosei Group Corporation ("Sosei"; TSE ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: