Aspergillus Newsletter

eNewsletter: November 26th 2012

Living with it, Working with it, Treating it

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In this issue

Institute of Specialist Surveyers and Engineers

For advice on cleaning your damp, mouldy home ISSE is an independant, reliable source of good quality information.

Fungus Air Purifiers - Best air cleaners for fungus and mould pollution.

 

5th Advances Against Aspergillosis

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Demographics

The Aspergillus Website has 41000 registered members (6% Vets, 33% Medical, 26% Science) and provides up to 20 million page requests per year.

35% (8540) of professional members have purchasing authority.

 

Visiting IP addresses

59000 unique users (IP addresses) visit this website every month and the trend is consistantly upwards (see graph for IP addresses (vertical axis) accessing website versus time(horizontal axis)).

76000 visits every month - so some visitors visit more than once per month. 1.5 million pages are requested per month (approx 20 pages per visit).

This Newsletter is sent out to 21000 members every month.

5500 external website links point to the Aspergillus Website.

Our Blog currently receives 8000 requests a month

 

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The function and evolution of the Aspergillus genome.

Aspergillus nidulansAspergillus is present in almost every environment on earth thanks to its apparent limitless capacity to adapt and diversify to take advantage of any opportunity for growth. It is important to man in several highly contrasting ways;

  1. It is important and useful for the industrial scale production of many foods (particularly eastern foods e.g. Soy sauce, Miso), chemicals for the food industry such as citric acid, bulk production of enzymes for the baking, brewing and beverage industries, preparation of animal feeds, paper pulping (details)
  2. It is enormously damaging to many of our food crops, contaminates food with its toxins causing serious illness in the developing world
  3. It is responsible for the most human deaths caused by fungi and is suspected of exacerbating the allergy & asthma of millions of sufferers worldwide
  4. It is known to be attacking sea corals in the Carribean
  5. It is hugely important to sciences such as genetics where it has led the way in the study of eukaryotic genetics for decades

How does Aspergillus achieve all this and much more? Large steps in understanding its DNA are being taken and currently 12 species have been completely sequenced with many more planned. We can now look at the complete DNA sequences of all of these species and compare them to try to gain some insight into how strains that are closely related differ so widely in their growth habits.

This new review (Gibbons & Rokas 2012) discusses what we have learned from genome studies about genome architecture, sexual reproduction, population biology, secondary metabolism and development and virulence mechanisms.

 

Latest Website News and Articles

LIFE WebsiteProject LIFE Art Competition 2012 - the overall winners were announced at the Manchester Science Festival on 1st November.

1st Prize - Sophie Wills,Millom School.
2nd prize - Erica Inglis, Stockport college.    
Sophie Wills winning artwork3rd prize - Jason Rhodes, Stockport College

Judges commented that Sophie's winning entry showed : "Strength of message, a  strong story and deceptive naivety"

Stockport College also received a special mention during the presentation as the college that generated two out of the top three entries together with several other entries in the top 15. The creativity, range of techniques and materials used were remarked upon very favourably by the judges.

Have you submitted your abstract to the ECCMID meeting? 
Only 4 weeks left to submit it!

The annual meeting of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases will take place in Berlin, Germany from 27 – 30 April 2013.

The abstract deadline is: Wednesday, 28 November 2012

 

Over 500 new articles added to our collection this month!

Selected articles: (523 new articles added, of which 14 are reviews and 305 precede the year 2000, 25 historic)

Analysis of posaconazole as oral antifungal prophylaxis in pediatric patients under 12 years of age following allogeneic stem cell transplantation Posaconazole was a well-tolerated, safe, and effective oral antifungal prophylaxis in pediatric patients who underwent high-dose chemotherapy and HSCT. Posaconazole at a dosage of 12 mg/kg body weight divided in three doses produced consistently higher morning trough levels than in patients who received posaconazole 5 mg/kg body weight b.i.d. . Larger prospective trials are needed to obtain reliable guidelines for antifungal prophylaxis in children after HSCT.

The echinocandin B producer fungus Aspergillus nidulans var. roseus ATCC 58397 does not possess innate resistance against its lipopeptide antimycotic This strain can grow when it is producing echinocandin B (ECB) by inducing complex changes in its cell wall synthesis machinery that compensate for any cell wall inhibition caused by ECB without affecting the expression of the echinocandin target - the catalytic subunit of β-1,3-glucan synthase. Growth of the fungus is slowed when this mechanism is induced and it can become more sensitive to other stressing agents. The group hypothesis that mutations that bring about resistance to ECB are rare because the strains grow poorly.

Fungal Secondary Metabolites - Methods and Protocols book

  • Presents methods covering fungal cultivation and transformation to metabolite isolation, purification, and analysis
  • Features detailed and practical laboratory protocols
  • Includes expert tips on troubleshooting and avoiding known pitfalls

Bronchoalveolar lavage lateral-flow device test for invasive pulmonary aspergillosis diagnosis in haematological malignancy and solid organ transplant patients Limitations of GM detection are assay turn-around time, which varies widely between centres (less than a day to several days), and the need for appropriately equipped laboratories that routinely test for this antigen. These limitations are overcome by the Aspergillus Lateral-Flow Device (LFD), a novel point-of-care (POC) test for IPA diagnosis developed by Dr Thornton at the University of
Exeter, UK. This simple, rapid (15 min), single-use test can be performed in rudimentary facilities using BAL or serum specimens.

The authors write "To conclude, the BAL LFD test is performed easily and provides accurate and rapid results. This new POC assay is a very promising test for IPA diagnosis using BAL specimens from HM and SOT patients. For routine clinical use, multicenter studies should be conducted with larger sample sizes from other patient collectives."

Antibodies generated against conserved antigens expressed by bacteria and allergen-bearing fungi suppress airway disease. The 'Hygiene Hypothesis' suggests that the increase in allergy and asthma in the developed world is in part due to children growing up in a world that is too clean, leading to lack of exposure of their immune systems to 'dirt and germs' and consequent aberrant over-expression later in life. This study demonstrates that antibodies raised against typical bacterial polysaccharides effectively dampen immune response against chitin and Aspergillus in mice.

The authors write "Overall, our results suggest that Ag exposure--derived from environmental sources, self-antigens, or vaccination--during the neonatal period has dramatic effects on the adult Ab response and modifies the development of allergic airway disease."

 

Reviews

Management of chronic rhinosinusitis Chronic rhinosinusitis is a common medical condition presenting to the primary care physician. The 2012 update of the European Position Paper on Rhinosinusitis and Nasal Polyps reported that it may affect between 5% and 15% of the population in Europe and the United States, although high quality epidemiological data is scarce.

Echinocandins for the nursery: an update As the incidence rates of neonatal invasive fungal infection (IFI) have been increasing over the last years, research efforts have been addressed towards identifying both effective preventative strategies, and efficacious and well-tolerated antifungal drugs. Historically, the first options in treatment of neonatal IFI have been and currently are- fluconazole and amphotericin B . However, these two drugs carry limitations both in efficacy and in putative toxicity. Recently, new therapeutic alternatives have drawn the neonatologists attention. Echinocandins are a new class of antifungal drugs with characteristics that might better meet the needs of this particular population of patients. 

Triazole use in the nursery: fluconazole, voriconazole, posaconazole, and ravuconazole Invasive fungal infections in infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit are common and often fatal.  The mainstay of therapy against invasive fungal infections is antifungal agents. Over the last two decades, the development and approval of these drugs evolved tremendously, and the azole class emerged as important agents in the treatment and prevention of invasive fungal infections.

It only takes one to do many jobs: Amphotericin B as antifungal and immunomodulatory drug Amphotericin B is a polyene substance that is one of the most effective drugs for the treatment of fungal and parasite infections. The first mechanism of action described was pore formation after binding to the ergosterol present in the membrane. But it has also been demonstrated that AmB induces oxidative damage in the cells. Moreover, amphotericin B modulates the immune system, and this activity has been related to the protective effect of the molecule, but also to its toxicity in the host. 

 

Veterinary

Aspergillus fumigatus and Other Thermophilic Fungi in Nests of Wetland Birds. The authors indicate the causes of varied growth of thermophilic fungi in nests of wetland birds and, in particular, present a discussion of the causes of accumulation of A. fumigatus, the related threats to the birds, and its role as a source of transmission in the epidemiological chain of aspergillosis.

You can now search all of our veterinary articles alongside all of the rest of our articles in the website Library

New Book: Infectious Diseases of Wild Mammals and Birds in Europe by Dolorés Gavier-Widen, Anna Meredith and J. Paul Duff (31 Aug 2012)

NOTE: Vets in the UK in need of assistance with acquiring antifungals please contact us here

 

Attention Clinicians!

You may like to contribute to the following collaborative groups who are collecting clinical data on these rare infections:

Fungiscope is a global rare fungal infection registry, a working group of ISHAM.

International Pediatric Fungal Network (PFN) collating information on treatment of pediatric patients

AspICU2 is a web-based multicentre observational survey to assess the burden of aspergillosis and other fungi in critically ill patients.

 

Clinical Training for developing countries

Public Health and Tropical Medicine Fellowships. It has come to our attention that there are a series of Fellowships funded by the Wellcome Trust available to applicants for low and middle income countries. We would like to encourage medical mycology applicants and would be happy to provide facilities and expertise for training at the National Aspergillosis Centre for applicants. We would like to identify applicants for these Fellowships and help facilitate application - please contact us at admin@aspergillosis.org.uk

 

Research Grant Awards

Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology. Now open - Invitation to submit Research Project Applications for: International Research Scholarships, Clinical Research Fellowships, Postdoctoral Research Fellowships. Apply here. NOTE: deadline for PhD studentships extended to 3rd December 2012

Gilead UK and Ireland Fellowship Programme details of 2013 programme for fungal disease opens on 10th December 2012.

 

Patients Website

Aspergillosis Patients Meeting - New Format Successful

The new Patients Support Meetings based close to the aspergillosis clinic in the North West Lung Centre continues to be well attended, with new people attending which is especially encouraging. The latest meeting on Friday 16th November (third Friday of the month) had the following topics:


1. Dr Libby Radcliffe spoke about the rather vague and difficult subject of ‘Aches and Pains and Aspergillosis’. There are many possible sources of aches & pains, not all of which are due to having aspergillosis, but there are some possible connections such as a side effect of taking antifungal drugs or steroids long term.


2. Graham Atherton gave a short talk on the best type of facemasks to use to reduce the number of mould spores you might breathe in, especially useful when carrying out potentially dusty hobbies such as gardening and when decorating your house.


3. Professor Malcolm Richardson gave us an illuminating talk of how common moulds we all come into contact with every day can cause havoc when they get into the wrong places as a a result of natural disasters such as tsunami, tornado’s as well as in the rather less exotic locations such as our homes if we do not take enough care to prevent damp – remember to ventilate your home whenever you carry out activities that generate water vapour e.g. cooking, bathing, showering and drying laundry indoors.


4. Questions & Answers session (Dr Libby Radcliffe, Prof Richardson, Debbie Kennedy, Georgina Powell, Chris Harris, Reyanna Sheenan all present) answered questions posed by the audience both in the room and online. One question asked about the cause of repeated headaches (lots of things), another asked whether antibiotics killing bacterial infection in sinuses encourages Aspergillus infection (yes), where in the world would people not catch Aspergillosis (nowhere!), would antifungals taken to treat lung infection also treat sinus infection (possibly but treatment for sinus infection is often more complex)?


The talk is available to watch at  http://www.slideshare.net/GTAtherton/nac-patient-meeting-november-2012
The next meeting will be at 1.30 on the 21st December and will be our annual Christmas Quiz instead of any talks. Everyone is welcome. You can pop in and out as you wish as each talk will last 20 – 30mins and there will be time for you to ask staff any questions that you wish. Light lunch, tea & coffee will be provided in the Altounyan suite  Atrium from around 1pm.
NOTE: To stay in touch of any changes at short notice we have a mobile phone text-based update system that can provide instant updates and reminders. If you wish to be added to the list we contact send your mobile number to admin@aspergillus.org.uk.

You can see a listing of all talks here (on the right)

Facebook community progress

Reaching new people is of fundamental importance to our need to reach people who may be living with aspergillosis and not be supported or even diagnosed correctly.

Facebook Groups

Aspergillosis Support for Patients - Facebook Community

 

News: There are two new groups starting up
Bristol, UK
South Louisiana, USA

 

Patients With Aspergillosis - Own StoriesPatient's Own Stories

So far we have collected 50 stories (75 members) which are being updated regularly, written by patients directly into the 'wiki' website at Patients with Aspergillosis. More stories needed - join up and join in!

 

Patient's ebooks (Kindle software)

'A Fly on the Ward' by Mike Chapman: In the book he tries to takes a lighter look at life as a chronic patient. A proportion of sales will be donated to the Fungal Research Trust.

The Lady with the Aspergillus by Julie Michael is the story of her stuggle with aspergillosis. All profits go to the Fungal Research Trust.

 

Information Leaflets

Two new leaflets are now available:

Also see:

 

Local Support Meetings

Several more meeting were successfully held over the summer, East and West Midlands, Liverpool and the group in Los Angeles, USA.

We always need new groups, particularly in the North East of England and Scotland, Southern and Eastern areas of the US so any volunteers would be welcome - all you need to do is arrange a venue (can be a pub/civic centre - we recommend NOT using your home at first) and a date and we will help publicising your group. How often you meet depends on you.

Contact admin@aspergillus.org.uk for details.

NEW GROUP Bristol: Facebook Email Group Leader
NEW GROUP South Louisiana: Facebook Email Group Leader
West Yorkshire: Facebook Email Group Leader
Canada: Ontario. Facebook Email Group Leader
Liverpool: Next date to be announced, "Wetherspoons", Childwall Fiveways Hotel, Queens Drive, Liverpool, L15 6XS. Map Facebook Email Group Leader
London: Next date to be announced, video conference available. Google UK, Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 9TQ. Map Facebook Email Group Leader

West Midlands: Next date to be announced at 1:30pm, Dudley Golf Club, Rowley Regis, West Midlands B65 9DP. Map Facebook Email Group Leader

East Midlands: Next date to be announced at Eat n' Enjoy Cafe, 4 Eaton Walk, Rushden Northants, NN10 9SH Map Facebook Email Group Leader

USA: San Francisco. Map Facebook Email Group Leader
USA: Los Angeles. Met recently (1:30pm) at Weiler's Deli. 22323 Sherman Way in West Hills. Map Facebook Email Group Leader
USA: Vermont. Map Facebook Email Group Leader
 

Will you donate just £1 (or $1 or €1) per newsletter to help us deliver the Aspergillus website and sustain research into Aspergillus related illnesses? That is just £12 for a year of newsletters. We need your help to continue providing up to date information and resources for patients and Doctors through the Aspergillus website.

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving You can donate through Virgin Money Giving. Through this organisation all of your donations goes straight to our charity. If you are a UK taxpayer we can reclaim the tax on your donation.

NOTE: Direct donations made through this page have raised £1510 so far this year - Many thanks for helping us run the Aspergillus Website.

 

Expert Patient Programme

Learn to manage long term illness better by taking part in a 6 week course. Originally designed at Stanford University, USA 20 years ago this programme has proven benefit for the patient, the carer and family. In the UK this is provided free of charge by the NHS.

Contact us for more information

Jobs

Ten positions are currently being advertised:

Consultant in Infectious Diseases
National Aspergillosis Centre, Manchester, UK. An caring, hard working, well qualified physician is sought to join the growing Infectious Disease group at UHSM and to support the work of the National Aspergillosis Centre

Clinical Research Fellows, National Aspergillosis Centre, Manchester, UK.
Over the next 2 years at least 2 vacancies will be available for Clinical Research Fellows at the National Aspergillosis Centre. The precise area of research has not been decided and will depend partly on the experience and interest of any successful candidate.

CHAIR -- DEPARTMENT OF MICROBIOLOGY AND IMMUNOLOGY
The School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio seeks an individual with an outstanding record of scientific achievement, grant support, scholarly accomplishments and mentoring as its new Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

CLINICAL RESEARCH FELLOW, 2 year post at the National Aspergillosis Centre, Manchester, UK
An enthusiastic enquiring clinician is sought to undertake a 2 year (possible extension) clinical research post related to the interaction of fungus and the lung, in particular Aspergillus. There are several million patients with allergic aspergillosis in Europe, hundreds of thousands with chronic pulmonary aspergillosis and millions at risk of invasive aspergillosis. This post offers a unique opportunity to become one of the best of the best in this area.

Infectious Diseases Registrar Position, Alice Springs, Australia
For 2013 we have a combined position available between Darwin and Alice Springs that will be accredited for 6m core ID at ASH and 6m core ID at RDH. Alice Springs is a unique town of nearly 30 000 but the hospital services Central Australia including parts of Western and South Australia, with Indigenous Australians making up more than 75% of our patient population. The hospital has 190 beds with a 10 bed ICU/ HDU. We have strong links with Adelaide and Darwin and our BPTs rotate from Adelaide and Sydney.

Group Leader - Research Groups in Parasitology and Mycology
Institut Pasteur, Paris. The Institut Pasteur in Paris announces an international call for outstanding candidates to establish independent research groups at all levels in the Department of Parasitology and Mycology and to develop research programs on pathogenic eukaryotic microorganisms (parasites or fungi) and/or their insect vectors.

Infectious Disease Registrar
Adelaide Teaching Hospitals, Australia. This is an excellent opportunity to join South Australia largest teaching hospitals providing care to South Australians. You will have a fantastic opportunity to work closely with I/D physicians and clinical microbiologists, providing inpatient care, outpatient care and clinical consultative service to medical and surgical units in these teaching hospitals.

Postdoctoral Fellowship to Study Aspergillus Pathogenesis and Immune Activation
The Cramer Laboratory is located at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Research Fellowship at CIDM Westmead
Expression of interest are sought for a Fellowship position in the Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at Westmead Hospital in Sydney. The position is most suited to those who wish to undertake doctoral or postdoctoral training in bacterial genetics and with completed qualifications in Infectious Diseases 

    Advertise your vacancy free of charge on the Aspergillus Website here. *Optional donation to the Fungal Research Trust to cover costs incurred in providing this newsletter.

Conferences - coming up

ASIAN CLINICAL CONGRESS Bangkok, Thailand. January 28-29th 2013

American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation Tandem Meeting (ASBMT 2013) Salt Lake City, USA. February 13 - 17th 2013

11th Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting Washington, DC, USA. February 25 - 27. Abstract deadline December 3rd 2012

39th EBMT Annual Meeting in 2013 London, UK. April 7 - 10 2013. Abstract submission deadline December 17th 2012.

23rd ECCMID, Berlin, Germany. April 27 - 30. Abstract submission deadline November 30th 2012

The European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases (ESPID). 31st Annual Meeting to be held in Milan, Italy, May 28-June 1, 2013.

Many more here...

Courses and Workshops

We keep a listing of courses and workshops including 'one off' events and courses that repeat regularly. Course subjects are wide ranging and include medical mycology, lab ID, young scientists symposia and much more. Those coming up next are:

The 39th Remington Winter Course in Infectious Diseases Avon, Colorado, USA. February 10 - 15th 2013

FEBS advanced practical course State-of-the-art infection models for human pathogenic fungi Jena, Germany. February 17 - March 2nd 2013

Cystic Fibrosis Barcelona, Spain. April 18 - 20th 2013

If you know of a course that should be added to this list please add it by contacting us here

Blog

Blogs

  1. GSK Increase Transparency of Drug Testing

  2. Systematic Failings Ruling Over Aspergillosis Case

  3. Your Help Needed: Please Report all Antifungal Drug Side Effects

  4. Manchester Entrepreneur joins Rebranded Fungal Infection Trust

  5. Bitter Tastes Initiate Our Immune System Response

  6. Winners of 'Funky Fungi' Art Competition Announced

  7. Aspergillus awamori as a Beneficial Food for Chickens

  8. Ash Tree Dieback Fungal Disease - Why Now?


 

Latest Books

Fungal Infection: Diagnosis & Management 4th Edition M Richardson and D Warnock

Books written by aspergillosis patients

The Lady with the Aspergillus by Julie Michael (9 Apr 2012)

A Fly on the Ward by Michael K Chapman (30 Apr 2012)

 

Latest Theses

View latest theses online. UK USA

Nitrate transport and assimilation in Aspergillus nidulansAuthor:  Akhtar, Naureen University of St Andrews 

Laboratory epidemiology and mechanisms of azole resistance in Aspergillus fumigatusAuthor:  Bueid, Ahmed.  University of Manchester Awarded:  2012 

Molecular detection of bloodstream pathogens in critical illness Author:  Al_griw, Huda Hm,  University of Manchester. Awarded:  2012

Evaluation of elevator shafts as a pathway for fungal spores and particles to enter a hospital housing immuno-compromised patients Author: Berkheiser, Matthew L.. The University of Texas School of Public Health, 2011.


NB Links to theses may require library membership.

Laboratory Protocols

We are always looking for more for our collection - please send your suggestions here

Technical Tips

We have now moved this to our Aspergillus & Aspergillosis Group in LinkedIn were we have a membership of over 280 professionals from a variety of backgrounds. Once a member you can start discussions and ask questions.

Searching for Aspergillus Information

RSS

New Feeds:

Twitter

You can now receive notification of updates to the Aspergillus Website on your mobile phone via SMS texting free of charge. Go to http://twitter.com/AspergillusWeb and open a Twitter account. Follow AspergillusWeb. 262 already follow AspergillusWeb.

If your network does not support Twitter SMS and you have a smartphone you can still monitor our messages over 3G or Wifi via free software and apps installed on your phone

LinkedIn

Join the Aspergillus & Aspergillosis group (286 members) to get in touch and keep in touch with your professional colleagues working in this field. Many jobs are advertised here too!

LinkedIn runs discussion forums in each group that all members can start up. Ask questions & debate with colleagues.

 

Thanks for reading!

Visit our website again soon.

The Aspergillus Team.

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