Cure hope in Aberdeen for killer fungal infections

By Fiona Stalker
BBC Scotland reporter

media captionThe infection made Rosie Davies seriously ill, an anxious time for parents Cheryl and Quintin

Researchers in Aberdeen are offering fresh hope to patients suffering from potentially lethal fungal infections.

The fungal infections - when fungal cells invade the body - are difficult to diagnose and treat.

They are believed to kill more than one million people around the world annually.

Scientists at the Medical Research Council Centre for Medical Mycology at the University of Aberdeen are now working on a vaccine.

'Really ill'

Patients whose immune systems do not work properly are especially at risk.

image captionProf Gordon Brown says better drugs are needed

One such patient is four-year-old Rosie Davies.

She has been undergoing chemotherapy for blood cancer at Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital (RACH).

Her father, Quintin, told BBC Scotland: "Chemotherapy lowered her immune system. and that's when she became ill with the suspected fungal infection.

"She got really ill."

New tests

Prof Gordon Brown, of the Medical Research Council Centre, said: "There's not a single vaccine. We need better drugs to combat these infections."

Hugh Bishop, a paediatric consultant at RACH, explained: "With fungal infections, one real difficulty is knowing if a patient has a fungal infection or not.

"We hope new tests might come from the research."

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