Invited Speaker Australian Society for Microbiology Annual Scientific Meeting 2018

Fungal Pathogen-Host Interactions – The Winner Takes It All (#168)

Karl Kuchler 1
  1. Medical University Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Fungal pathogens are considered hidden killers of mankind, as invasive fungal infections claim around 1,5 million lifes per year. Thus, fungal infections constitute a medical problem of epic proportions. The most prevalent fungal pathogen Candida albicans represents the 4th-most frequent cause of hospital-acquired infections with an overall mortality rate of about 40%. Antifungal immunity is driven by a dynamic and complex interplay of innate and adaptive immunity, particularly engaging T cell-mediated inflammatory defense at later stages of infections. The level and amplitude of host inflammation is critical for the outcome of invasive fungal diseases. In my lecture, will discuss how host invasion by Candida spp can trigger cell-type specific protective as well as detrimental immune responses. In addition, I will also discuss some of the mechanisms that Candida spp exploit to evade immune surveillance and thus escape clearing by immune cells. Finally, I shall discuss an emerging paradigm change and novel approach for the treatment of invasive fungal diseases, which is to modulate the host immune response to fungal pathogens rather than targeting the pathogen itself.