BOTHELL, Wash.—With the decreasing efficacy of many current anti-fungal therapies and the growing problem of fungal infections in the community, researchers are searching for new families of potential therapeutics. At the recent American Society of Microbiology conference in Toronto, scientists from Helix Biomedix described the characterization of novel lipohexapeptides as topical therapeutics.
Using a combination of rational design and antimicrobial screening, the researchers generated antimicrobial hexapeptides that they modified through acylation or by including D-form, unusual, or non-natural amino acids. They tested the peptide library against organisms involved in athlete's foot, ringworm, nail fungus, and vaginal candidiasis, both in culture (liquid or plate) and in a guinea pig model of dermatophytosis.
They found that lipohexapeptides had potent activity against C. albicans as well as fungicidal activity against Trichophyton spp., while a non-acylated hexapeptide candidate appeared to be fungistatic. Similarly, two of the hexapeptide candidates significantly inhibited fungal growth in the animal model without signs of toxicity, either clinically or histopathologically.