Aspergillus Newsletter
September 2013

Researchers Block Asthma Symptoms Caused by Aspergillus

A new report shows that a particular enzyme that is present in our lungs is responsible for many of the symptoms of severe asthma.CaMKII is hyperactive in the lungs of people suffering from severe asthma, but not in the lungs of people who are not asthmatic. This alone makes it useful as an indicator of the severity of the disease a patients is suffering from and can be used to follow the progression of the asthma.

Researchers already know that Aspergillus fumigatus allergens are strong inducers of asthma-like symptoms in mouse models of the disease (and in human sufferers) so they constructed molecules that blocked the activity of CaMKII and tested whether or not these molecules could stop the asthmatic symptoms in mice. The result was that blocking the activity of CaMKII also prevented any asthma symptoms from occurring - a completely new finding in the field of asthma research.
The British Mycological Society are organising an event entitled UK Fungus Day in 2013. There are over 40 events scheduled across the UK on the weekend of October 12th - 13th 2013 in support of this inaugural UK Fungus Day (visit our website for more details of events near you).
Three new species - Aspergillus felis found in cats and humans, is closely related to Aspergillus fumigatus. A new species of Aspergillus - A felis has been identified in humans and cats in Australia. Dr Vanessa Barrs lead author in the recent publication from the University of Sydney said: “this all originated from spotting an unusual fungal infection in three cats I was seeing at the University’s cat treatment centre in 2006.” Aspergillus trinidadensis and A. floridensis have been added to the species database.
'Open the Windows' Poetry & Medicine Reading. 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 is shortlisted for this year's £10,000 Forward Prize for Poetry.

Join us 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.
The 6th Advances Against Aspergillosis Conference will take place at the Melia Castilla Hotel & Conference Centre, Madrid from 27 February to 1 March 2014. Please be aware that the deadline for booking at the early-bird registration fees is 1 October 2013. Register
NOTE access to all articles now requires registration

We found that the expression of Dectin-2 was low in normal lung, while it revealed a markedly up-regulation during A. fumigatus invasion. Dectin-2 expression was predominantly restricted to CD206 positive cells. There was salient positive correlation between Dectin-2 expression and CD206. We conclude that Dectin-2 expression is largely restricted to alveolar macrophages in human lung. The conspicuous expression of Dectin-2 during A. fumigatus invasion suggests its notable contribution to antifungal defenses in pulmonary aspergillosis.
Posaconazole demonstrates efficacy as prophylaxis against IFI in high-risk neutropenic Chinese patients and is well tolerated during long-term use (ClinicalTrials. gov number, NCT00811928)
Two cases of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis and the results of health surveillance are described in a team of 28 garden waste (compost) collectors. A few cases of extrinsic allergic alveolitis due to Aspergillus fumigatus have previously been reported in compost workers. In the absence of any guidance from research and to prevent similar cases of a potentially serious illness, we advise that new starters to the job of collecting or processing compost are screened for asthma and aspergillus sensitivity, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis and immunodeficiency if their exposure to high levels of Aspergillus sp cannot be controlled. Annual health surveillance for these workers is also recommended.
IFI prophylaxis has a positive effect on IFI risk reduction. However, its effect on all-cause mortality is not as pronounced. The analysis has additionally pinpointed posaconazole as potentially the most effective IFI prophylaxis in neutropenic patients.
In less than half a century, allergy, originally perceived as a rare disease, has become a major public health threat, today affecting the lives of more than 60 million people in Europe, and probably close to one billion worldwide, thereby heavily impacting the budgets of public health systems. More disturbingly, its prevalence and impact are on the rise, a development that has been associated with environmental and lifestyle changes accompanying the continuous process of urbanization and globalization. Therefore, there is an urgent need to prioritize and concert research efforts in the field of allergy, in order to achieve sustainable results on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this most prevalent chronic disease of the 21st century.
Microbial corneal diseases are a serious ocular infection and the major cause of ocular morbidity and blindness in the world. The outcomes of fungal keratitis are unfavorable due to the protracted course of the condition and the diversity of respective clinical presentations.
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?
The course is a joint effort of the Mycological of China, Dermatology Society of Chinese Medical Association and the CBS Fungal Biodiversity Centre. Lectures will be in English and Chinese language. Lectures and microscopic work will follow the style of the CBS Mycology course, and the Atlas of Clinical Fungi will be used as lab manual. For this book a recent CD-ROM version (2011) will be included in the course fee.
This four-week course is aimed at MDs, PhDs or veterinarians, working in a hospital microbiology laboratory and having previous practice of medical mycology, who are willing to improve their practical and theoretical knowledge in the field. Application deadline is Sept. 30, 2013.
Toxins in Dog & Cat Food
This overview of toxic foods is written for Veterinary professionals
Attention Clinicians & Scientists
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.
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
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Also of interest...

Genomics of Soil- and Plant-Associated Fungi (Soil Biology 36) by Benjamin A. Horwitz, Prasun K. Mukherjee, Mala Mukherjee and Christian P. Kubicek (30 Aug 2013)
The Harriet Lane Handbook of Pediatric Antimicrobial Therapy: Mobile Medicine Series (Expert Consult: Online +... by Julia McMillan MD, Carlton K. Lee PharmD MPH, George K. Siberry MD MHP and Karen Carroll MD (20 Aug 2013)
Adaptive resistance mechanisms of Aspergillus fumigatus biofilms by Rajendran, Ranjith, University of Glasgow 2013
Plasma/skin distribution of voriconazole in rabbit following IV infusion administrations by Shah, Krunal., Long Island University, The Brooklyn Center 2013
Clinical Trials (38 Recruiting):
Research Grants:
Lab protocols:
News blog:
A new species - Aspergillus felis found in cats and humans, is closely related to Aspergillus fumigatus.
Occupational Exposure to Compost and Risk of Contracting ABPA
Fungal Infection Trust, PO Box 482, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 9AR, UK,