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Aspergillosis

Research at The University of Manchester has changed the landscape of investigations into fungal infections and medical care worldwide.

Professor David Denning and colleagues have conducted pioneering work on aspergillosis, an infection caused by the fungus aspergillus. This has led to the introduction of the world's most effective first line therapy to combat the disease.

The development and use of the antifungal drug voriconazole in patients suffering from invasive aspergillosis improved survival rates by 15-20%, compared to other therapies.

Professor Denning also developed the very low toxicity echinocandin antifungal drugs. Their use has been pivotal to improving survival rates in patients with life-threatening fungal infections.

The National Aspergillosis Centre at the University Hospital of South Manchester was the first nationally commissioned infectious disease service in the UK. It is also the world's first national clinical centre for a fungal disease.

The Centre has directly facilitated a WHO STOP TB programme to fight chronic pulmonary aspergillosis and its global impact. Research conducted here has also led to ground breaking work on antifungal therapies for people with severe asthma who are sensitive to fungus.

Professor Denning set up the spin-out biotechnology company F2G to develop novel anti-fungal compounds. Approximately £35 million has been invested in the company from venture capital funds since 2001.

His molecular diagnostics spin out company Myconostica produced the world's first commercial chemical tests for pulmonary fungal infections, with sales in over 16 countries.

Aspergillosis describes a large number of diseases involving infection and fungal growth as well as allergic responses. Sufferers have often had their immune system compromised and are therefore vulnerable to infection.

“The National Aspergillosis Centre at the University Hospital of South Manchester was the first nationally commissioned infectious disease service in the UK.”

David Denning / Professor of Infectious Diseases in Global Health