Baker's yeast may hold cure to fatal fungal infections, finds study.
The finding could lead to the development of a human vaccine that protects immuno-compromised people against a range of life-threatening fungal infections, for which current therapy often fails.
Researchers from the California Institute for Medical Research, Santa Clara Valley Medical Centre and Stanford University gave mice three injections of killed Saccharomyces (baker's yeast), one week apart.
Vaccinated mice were able to survive high doses of Aspergillus - the fungus that causes aspergillosis.
Mice that survived also showed a reduced infection load in their organs.
Aspergillosis is the leading fungal killer among immunocompromised individuals.
It is an invasive infection that attacks the lungs, can disseminate to other organs, such as the brain, and can lead to kidney and liver failure.
"Our results suggest that the protective component of the yeast is in the cell wall. What's more, the simple preparation we used has been shown by us to also protect against infection due to three other fungi that cause human disease - Candida, Cryptococcus and Coccidioides," said Dr. David A. Stevens, from Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, in whose laboratory the studies were performed,
The findings were published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.