Innate immune responses against opportunistic fungal pathogens in immune compromised patients
When blood cancer is treated with chemotherapy and stem cell replacement, the cellular immunity is highly compromised. Thus, patients already suffering from severe disease become highly susceptible to deadly infections. So-called opportunistic fungi are usually not dangerous, but for patients with a weak immune system they can be a major threat. If a patient is infected with these pathogens they will often not survive despite treatment with fungicidal drugs. Moreover, resistance against anti-fungal medicine is reported more frequently.
It is thus important to launch a project focused on development of new therapy forms to combat invasive fungal infections. We aim to develop a treatment strategy that enforces the innate (inborn) immune system. The innate plasma factors are not destroyed by the cancer/chemotherapy in the same way as the adaptive immune system. Thus, we believe this strategy could become beneficial for patients throughout the course of the underlying disease and therapy.
Associate Professor Mikkel-Ole Skjødt, Department of Immunology and Microbiology (ISIM).
Associate Professor Henrik Sengeløv, Department of Hematology, Rigshospitalet.