A new discovery for the future of polyene therapy

Researchers at the University of Illinois discovered that amphotericin B acts like a sponge, absorbing sterols that are essential for membrane integrity—ergosterol in fungal cells and cholesterol in human cells—to cause cell leakage and cell death. This discovery started a new path toward a polyene with greater specificity for fungal cells.

Rational drug design: Building a better polyene antifungal

Researchers then determined fine differences in the effects of amphotericin B on ergosterol and cholesterol, with the goal of reducing treatment-related systemic toxicities (Soutar et al, 2022). This work, exemplifying rational drug design at its best, ultimately led to the drug candidate SF001.