Scientists have developed a promising model for studying a pneumonia-causing fungus that is otherwise difficult to culture in the lab.
Researchers at Tulane University School of Medicine used precisely cut slices of lung tissue to study the species of Pneumocystis—these species cause Pneumocystis pneumonia in immunosuppressed children and adults.
This research tackles a major hurdle, which is the difficulty of growing the pathogen outside a living lung, for scientists to be able to test drugs easily to fight infections.
WHO ranked this fungus number 19 on the fungal priority pathogens list recently.
Corresponding author: Dr. Jay Kolls, John W Deming
The model’s suitability for in vitro drug testing was confirmed by the researchers. The expression of Pneumocystis genes was reduced when treated with regularly used drugs such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and echinocandins. Indicating successful fungus targeting.
The Tulane approach produces several homogeneous lung tissue samples for research from a single lung, allowing for high-capacity testing.