Aspergillus Newsletter
October 2013

Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis in garden waste (compost) collectors

For the first time, high risk occupations which expose workers to large numbers of fungal spores via inhalation, have now been shown to   correlate with increased rates of ABPA, in research just published. 
 
Worldwide Healthcare Priorities: Money Spent Correlates With Healthcare Satisfaction - Except in US. An ongoing survey run by the United Nations shows strong correlation between the amount of money spent on the healthcare of a nation and the number of times its citizens give high priority to better healthcare. There is one exception to this - the US seems to pay 3 - 4x the amount of money paid by other countries to achieve poorer results.
It is noteworthy and ironic that this information comes to light as some US politicians refuse to support a healthcare system that will allow all citizens much improved access to their healthcare service, as one possible cause of this anolmaly is that 50 million US citizens have no medical insurance and thus minimal access to their health service.
News
 
The 6th Advances Against Aspergillosis in Madrid, Spain on 27th February-1st March 2014 is offering a series of scholarships to enable those with financial difficulties to attend. The deadline for application for those scholarships is Sunday 31st October
 
Rebecca Goss's newborn daughter Ella was diagnosed with a heart condition at the hospital where Denise Bundred worked. However, they only met later as poets, writing about their respective experiences as mother/patient and doctor. Rebecca was shortlisted for this year's £10,000 Forward Prize for Poetry.

Join us on Saturday 12th October at 2pm for their reading which also features music celebrating ‘breath’ specially commissioned from Chris Davies and Beth Allen. The National Aspergillosis Centre, University Hospital of South Manchester, is delighted to be co-hosting this awareness-raising event with Manchester Literature Festival at Manchester Museum. Free but please book early as this event is selling well.
Articles
 
NOTE access to all articles now requires registration
 
Our study suggests that long-term voriconazole prescription may be associated with a multi-step phototoxic process involving acute skin lesions followed by AK then by SCC. Discontinuation of voriconazole should be strongly considered in patients experiencing chronic phototoxicity.
 
We have described the complete and targeted transfer of all 13 genes of the geodin gene cluster from A. terreus to A. nidulans through a sequential integration approach enabling A. nidulans to synthesize geodin. In principle, this strategy can be used to reconstitute gene clusters of any size as the sequential integrations are based on marker recycling. In addition, defined promoters can easily be introduced in front of relevant genes in the cluster of interest. Importantly, we demonstrate that the cluster can be genetically dissected for clarification of its biochemical potential. We therefore envision that our method will significantly speed up the uncovering of biochemical pathways in fungi where the genome has been sequenced.
 
The incidence of invasive Aspergillus infections in the Middle East continues to rise with the increase in the number of immunocompromised patients, and carries significant morbidity and mortality. A panel of experts analysed the evidence from the most recent international guidelines and relevant published literature to reach consensus and develop clear clinical practice guidelines to aid diagnosis and treatment of invasive Aspergillus infections in the Middle East. Disease-specific recommendations were provided for the management of invasive aspergillosis. The expert panel acknowledged that these guidelines should be followed as closely as possible but used alongside clinical judgement.
 
The bZIP Protein MeaB Mediates Virulence Attributes in Aspergillus flavus.
Through LaeA microarray sleuthing, we have identified MeaB as an important controller of A. flavus virulence and toxin attributes including seed colonization and aflatoxin synthesis on seed. However, it appears that meaB plays little – if any – role in the pleiotropic effects of laeA loss on fungal biology as LaeA and MeaB exhibit distinct roles in growth and development. This finding is in contrast to another study where a LaeA regulated
gene, nosA, was found to mediate the decreased radial growth and delayed conidial germination observed in A. fumigatus DlaeA. Considering that upwards of 10% of fungal genome is regulated by LaeA, it is likely that only a subset of the LaeA regulated genes would impact the DlaeA phenotype when deleted or overexpressed in this background.
 
Characterization of Specific Immune Responses to Different Aspergillus Antigens during the Course of Invasive Aspergillosis in Hematologic Patients.
Specific immune responses to several Aspergillus antigens may be detected in patients with IA and those producing IFN-γ directly mediate the lysis of Aspergillus hyphae, possibly contributing to the clearance of the fungus, being their presence also associated with a more favourable outcome. The identification of the antigens eliciting the strongest protective responses in patients with IA may spur further studies to define the complete repertoire of Aspergillus specific immune responses during the course of the infection to design therapeutic strategies of either vaccine or autologous cytotoxic cell infusions.
Reviews
 
Recent studies have suggested that biofilm formation by A. fumigatus may be one of the most important virulence factors in IPA and aspergilloma. Several fungal constituents may contribute to the formation of biofilm structures on host cells, including cell wall components, secondary metabolites and drug transporters. The biofilm phenotype of the fungus is refractory to most conventional antifungal treatment options. Thus, an in-depth analysis and understanding of A. fumigatus biofilms is necessary to devise newer and better antifungal targets for treating complex A. fumigatus biofilm-associated diseases.
Damp & Health
 
Indoor Environment Professionals
Please join our LinkedIn group on Damp Building and Human Health.
 
Living in a damp home?
Please check out our LinkedIn group: Is my damp home making me ill?
Conferences
The on-line abstract submission, registration and accommodation sites are now open.
 
Call for Abstracts
Authors are invited to submit an abstract in English to be considered for an oral or poster presentation at the Congresses. The deadline for submission of abstracts is January 30, 2014. Authors are asked to submit abstracts using the on-line abstract submission link.
 
12th ASM Conference on Candida and Candidiasis March 26 - 30, 2014 | New Orleans, Louisiana
Abstract submission and registration are now open.
Courses
 
March 5-7th 2014.
The course provides an overview of the general principles of state-of-the-art molecular techniques for diagnosis of infectious diseases: Quantitative PCR, (Next-Generation) Sequencing and Mass Spectrometry. In addition, the course educates participants on the set-up, validation and quality control of the different techniques and discusses the latest and upcoming developments in the field.
 
Online course, Start approximately July 2014
Mechanisms in Fungal Infections is a blended, e-learning resource with CME content developed by an expert, multidisciplinary group of specialists.

The content on this Web site is intended for oncologists, hematologists, and infectious disease specialists who treat transplant patients and other patient populations at risk for developing fungal infections.
Veterinary
 
Nasal and cutaneous aspergillosis is reported in an adult goat. The clinical signs were severe respiratory distress due to partial nasal obstruction, bilateral mucopurulent nasal discharge, skin nodules on the ears and dorsal nasal region and focal depigmentation of the ventral commissure of the right nostril. At necropsy examination, sagittal sectioning of the head revealed a yellow irregular mass extending from the nasal vestibule to the frontal portion of the nasal cavity. Microscopically, there was pyogranulomatous rhinitis and dermatitis, with numerous intralesional periodic acid-Schiff-positive fungal hyphae morphologically suggestive of Aspergillus spp. Aspergillus niger was isolated by microbiological examination.
Attention Clinicians & Scientists
Case Histories Database 212 aspergillosis cases already recorded and you can add yours too.
 
Information on mycetoma on the WHO List of Neglected Tropical Diseases can be found here, and see also the media briefing of the Mycetoma Consortium here.
 
 
The Joint Genome Institute (JGI) welcomes nominations of genomes to be sequences in its Community Sequencing Program. For procedures how to submit a proposal, see here. The current fungal program can be found here.
 
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.
Patients
 
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Also of interest...
ICAAC 2013

 
 
 
Jobs:
 
PhD Programme with A*STAR Institutes, Singapore. Following the successful recruitment of 15 students to date on the programme, we wish to advertise and recruit a further 10 high-calibre students from the UK and Europe for September 2014 entry. These prestigious studentships are badged to the A*STAR Research Attachment Programme (ARAP)
Conferences:
 
Courses:
 
Books:

 
Lung Transplantation by R. Hetzer (4 Oct 2013)
 
Theses:
 
 
 
Clinical Trials (38 Recruiting):
 
Research Grants:
 
Lab protocols:
 
Networking:
 
News blog:
 
Fungal Infection Trust, PO Box 482, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 9AR, UK,www.fungalinfectiontrust.org.uk