Cancer Patients Benefit from Isavuconazole, a New Antifungal

The gist: This article describes the results of a clinical trial—a research study with volunteer patients. The goal of the study was to test a new treatment for fungal infections in cancer patients. The researchers found that the new drug, isavuconazole, is just as effective as the existing drug voriconazole, and it has fewer bad side effects,

“A newly developed antifungal, isavuconazole, is as effective as an existing drug, voriconazole, against invasive mold disease in cancer patients with less adverse effects, according to phase 3 clinical data presented at the 54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, an infectious disease meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

” ‘There is a growing need for new antifungal therapies like isavuconazole because serious fungal infections caused by Aspergillus and other molds are on the rise due to the increasing numbers of immunosuppressed patients, including those with active cancer. These infections are associated with high morbidity and mortality. If approved, isavuconazole has the potential to be an important new option for the treatment of these life-threatening fungal infections,’ says Andrew Ullman of Julius Maximilians University in Wuerzburg, Germany, one of the researchers presenting data.

“Invasive fungal infections are important causes of morbidity and death for patients with hematological malignancies. Many leukemia and lymphoma patients receive high-dose chemotherapy, sometimes followed by stem cell transplantation, compromising their immune systems. The genus Aspergillus comprises several hundred species of mold that are ubiquitous in the environment but pose little threat to people with healthy immune systems. Immunocompromised patients, however, are more vulnerable to infection.”