It is our aim at ACE BioSciences to discover, validate and develop novel targets that will be central to the development of future therapies against pathogenic microorganisms. Studies are performed using an integration of proteomic, bioinformatic and molecular biology techniques. A pathogen of prime interest to us is the opportunistic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. This organism is associated with an ever-increasing rate of infections in immunocompromised individuals and the lack of effective therapy is illustrated by mortality rates that can exceed 70%. At ACE BioSciences, our studies have identified a number of novel cell surface and secreted proteins. These proteins are presently being assayed, using functional, viability and bioinformatic assays, to determine if they are essential for growth and/or pathogenesis. The most interesting candidates from these studies, which have been demonstrated to be essential for growth/pathogenicity, will then be taken forward to lead development. Studies have also been performed with the aim of identifying novel antigens of the organism. Such research will reveal proteins useful in the construction of protective antibody and vaccine therapies that may be of use to immunocompromised sub-populations. Studies to date have identified an antigen common to both conidial and hyphal morphotypes, and another whose expression is up regulated upon germination of conidia. These candidates are presently being tested for their ability to protect against infection in suitable animal models.
Full conference title:
The 15 th Congress of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology
- ISHAM 15th (2003)