New targets and delivery systems for antifungal therapy

Med Mycol. 2000;38 Suppl 1:335-47.


Development of new approaches for treatment of invasive fungal infections encompasses new delivery systems for approved and investigational compounds, as well as exploiting the cell membrane, cell wall and virulence factors as putative antifungal targets. Novel delivery systems consisting of cyclodextrins, cochleates, nanoparticles/nanospheres and long circulating ('stealth') liposomes, substantially modulate the pharmacokinetics of existing compounds, and may also be useful to enhance the delivery of antifungal agents to sites of infection. Further insights into the structure-activity relationship of the antifungal triazoles that target the biosynthesis of ergosterol in the fungal cell membrane have led to the development of highly potent broad spectrum agents, including posaconazole, ravuconazole and voriconazole. Similarly, a novel generation of cell-wall active semisynthetic echinocandin 1,3 beta-glucan inhibitors (caspofungin, FK463, and VER-002) has entered clinical development. These agents have potent and broad-spectrum activity against Candida spp, and potentially useful activity against Aspergillus spp. and Pneumocystis carinii. The ongoing convergence of the fields of molecular pathogenesis, antifungal pharmacology and vaccine development will afford the opportunity to develop novel targets to complement the existing antifungal armamentarium.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / chemistry
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Design
  • Fungi / drug effects*
  • Fungi / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Mycoses / drug therapy*
  • Triazoles / chemistry
  • Triazoles / pharmacology
  • Triazoles / therapeutic use


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Triazoles