A Novel Vaccine Candidate Against Fungal Infection

Vaccination with a heat-killed mutant strain offers cross-protection against diverse fungal infections in a mouse model, significantly improving survival. A.) Mice vaccinated at different doses show higher survival rates when challenged with a wild strain (H99) of fungus. B.) Vaccinated mice are protected from infection by C. gattii R265 and have significantly improved survival. C) Visualization of A. fumigatus infected lung tissue in GMS-stained slides. Stainable fungal tissue (black) seen in the vaccinated condition is from the heat-killed mutant strain.

Invention Summary:

        Invasive fungal infections kill over 1.5 million people annually. Cryptococcus neoformans, for example, is a human fungal pathogen that often causes lung and brain infection in immunocompromised patients with a high fatality rate. There is no vaccine available in clinical use to prevent and control fungal infections.

      Rutgers scientists have identified a novel protein, deletion of which makes C. neoformans as well as several other fungal organisms hypovirulent. Vaccination with a heat-killed mutant strain conferred full protection against diverse invasive fungal infections, including C. neoformans, C. gattii, and Aspergillus fumigatus, and partial cross-protection against Candida albicans. Protection against C. neoformans was effective even in immunocompromised hosts, including mice lacking CD4+ T cells. The boosted immunogenicity of a mutant strain could be used as an effective vaccine for protection against virulent fungal infections.

Market Applications:

- Vaccine (whole cell, heat-killed)

- Vaccine adjuvant to prevent and treat fungal infection



- Effective in immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts

- Induces cross-protection against multiple common invasive fungal infections

- Very potent

- Triggers a robust immune response


Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Shemaila Sultana
Assistant Director
Rutgers University