Texas Medical Center (TMC) recently reported on the efforts of McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) microbiologists to develop a new treatment for patients suffering from a fungal yeast infection in the mouth known as thrush.
Researchers noted that when they put Enterococcus faecalis, a bacterium that can cause urinary tract infections, and Candida albicans, a fungus that causes thrush, together, the bacterium inhibited the fungus' activity, the release said. The two are often found together in the mouth and in the gastrointestinal system.
“We thought the two together would make infections worse,” Michael Lorenz, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at UTHealth, said in the release. “What ended up happening was unexpected and fascinating: Enterococcus was actually returning Candida to a benign state.”
Lorenz and his colleague, Danielle Garsin, used doctoral student Carrie Graham's finding that it was EntV, a protein produced by the bacterium, that blocked the fungus' development and tested it in mice. The animals treated with EntV showed fewer symptoms than the control group.
The results of their study were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
The researchers said they will continue investigating how EntV is produced and how it affects Candida. More testing will be needed before the potential antifungal treatment is available for human use.
“The long-term goal is to develop a new antifungal drug that takes a different approach to treating oral thrush,” Garsin saidin the rerlease.