Emerging echinocandins for treatment of invasive fungal infections.
The echinocandins are a new class of antifungals, developed in response to the need for safe and effective antifungals for the treatment of invasive fungal infections. These agents work by inhibiting 1,3-beta-d-glucan synthase, an enzyme essential for production of cell walls in select fungi. Echinocandins appear to demonstrate favourable activity in vitro against a variety of yeasts (including both Candida albicans and non-albicans Candida) as well as select moulds (including Aspergillus spp.) In general, all echninocandins demonstrate a favourable safety profile and require once-daily parenteral administration. Caspofungin is the first of these agents to be available in the US, and is approved for empirical antifungal therapy in febrile neutropenic patients, candidaemia and select forms of invasive candidiasis, and for management of invasive aspergillosis in patients refractory to or intolerant of other therapies. Micafungin was recently approved by the FDA for treatment of oesophageal candidiasis, and for the prophylaxis of fungal infections in haematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. Emerging data indicate micafungin may have an important role in the treatment of invasive forms of candidiasis. Anidulafungin is an echinocandin approved in the US for treatment of candidaemia and oesophageal candidiasis. Aminocandin (HMR-3702, IP-960) is an investigational agent, with published experience limited to in vitro studies and animal models of infection.
Turner, MS; Drew, RH; Perfect, JR
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