Repurposed Drugs for the Treatment of Fungal Infections Caused by Coccidioides


Researchers at TGen and Northern Arizona University (NAU) have developed an effective treatment for fungal infections caused by Coccidioides including the Valley Fever-causing species: Coccidioides immitis and Coccidioides posadasii in humans and companion animals (particularly canines).  Repurposed drugs originally developed to inhibit hormone uptake (antipsychotics, antidepressants, sex hormone inhibitors, etc.) can inhibit the growth and spread of these fungal infections at superior rates to current treatment methods especially when combined with fluconazole.


Coccidioides are soil fungi whose aerosolized spores commonly infect humans and animals when soil is disrupted.  Humans and animals infected with Valley Fever-causing Cocci species typically experience pulmonary infection, discomfort, and sometimes lesions.  But, the infection can also disseminate to other tissues and vital organs including liver, skin, bone, brain, and meninges which can result in serious injury or death.  Anti-fungal treatments are generally administered to infected patients to reduce the rate of growth and dissemination of fungal spores.


The treatment developed by TGen and NAU sequester infecting Coccidioides from growth promotion factors endemic to the host such as human and animal hormones.  While on its own, this has the effect of reducing the growth and dissemination of infections such as Valley Fever, it is especially effective when combined with fluconazole or other antifungal agents.  Notably, cross-tissue dissemination is entirely abolished with the combination of some of the repurposed drugs with fluconazole.  This previously unreached level of infection suppression greatly reduces the risk of serious injury and death for infected patients.


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Katie Bray
Intellectual Property Counsel
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
David Engelthaler
Elizabeth Driebe
Hongwei "Holly" Yin
Michael Valentine
Donald Chow
Jolene Bowers
Paul Keim
Animal Health
Veterinary Medicine