The role fungi play in establishing biofilms on surfaces is generally underappreciated in healthcare. For example, implanted medical devices are almost always colonised by yeasts that can lead to invasive candidiasis, contributing to nearly $3 billion in healthcare spending an associated mortality rate greater than 50%. Surfaces that kill or repel pathogenic fungi on contact address an urgent need in the clinical setting for long-dwelling biomaterials that reduce the likelihood of such device-related infections. It is now possible to develop novel antifungal materials by formulating approved pharmaceuticals into surface coatings. By covalently binding antifungal drugs onto substrates and directing them to targets within the fungal cell envelope, the specific antifungal activity of the drug can be maintained giving rise to “contact-killing surfaces” while remaining well tolerated by mammalian tissues. A key question left to answer is how these immobilized agents act towards targets within the cell wall and the cell membrane. We outline the strategies and research progress in our group designed to answer this question. Importantly, we show that our surface coating methodology is shedding light on the mechanisms of how drugs bound to surfaces function as well as providing a new understanding of the first stages of biofilm formation.
Full conference title:
- ISHAM 19th (2015)