MINNEAPOLIS — Researchers from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., are another step closer to developing a drug to combat fungal infections — one of the major problems confronting patients with compromised immune systems. The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics has awarded Mayo biochemist Zhiguo Zhang, Ph.D., and University medicinal chemist Michael Walters, Ph.D., a commercialization grant of $621,934 for the first year of a two-year period. The research team will use the grant for additional studies that will move their drug discovery toward the marketplace.
Finding new drugs to fight fungal infections is critical as the numbers of immuno-compromised patients rise due to HIV, organ transplants, and cancer chemotherapy treatments. In certain fungal infections, the mortality rate exceeds 50 percent and in some cases may be as high as 90 percent. Current drugs are becoming compromised as fungi become resistant to them.