Antifungal vaccines

Cassone, A.

Author address: 

Department of Infectious Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanití , Rome, Italy


Vaccines against human pathogenic fungi , a rather neglected medical need until few years ago, are now gaining steps in the public health priority scale. At variance with almost all other vaccines which are designed to immunize healthy, immunocompetent subjects, fungal vaccines must be designed to provide protection in immunocompromized subjects who are the common targets of fungal infections, and this represents a novel, quite formidable challenge for vaccinologists. Nevertheless, with rising knowledge of the multiple determinants of host-fungus relationship, and the spectacular advances in genome sequencing, genetic engineering and proteomics, a remarkable progress strong progress is being made in this area. Realistic targets for fungal vaccines have been identified even in profoundly immunodepressed hemopathic, stem-cell transplanted patients and those affected by solid tumors and receiving aggressive chemotherapy. In experimental models, some vaccines induce the generation of directly fungicidal antibodies and others are protective in animals carrying major risk factors for fungal infections such as CD4+ T cell deficiency or neutropenia. Moreover, antibodies have been discovered that may have a strong impact in the protection against fungal infection as passive vaccination or immunotherapy, even beyond the role of antibodies in the natural history of infection. This discovery has greatly contributed to the advancements in the field of fungal vaccines, in recognition that almost all useful vaccines against viral and bacterial pathogens owe their protective efficacy to neutralizing, opsonizing or otherwise effective antibodies. Overall, there is more hope now than few years ago about the chances of generating and having approved by the regulatory authorities one or more antifungal vaccines , be active or passive, for use in humans in the next few years. In particular, the possibility of protecting against multiple opportunistic mycoses in immuno-depressed subjects with a single, well-defined glucan-conjugate vaccine, eliciting growth-inhibitory anti-fungal antibodies may be an important step to achieve this critical public health goal. (Supported by ISS/EC grants)

abstract No: 


Full conference title: 

3rd Trends in Medical Mycology
    • TIMM 3rd (2011)