Candida albicans is a harmless yeast fungus – at least most of the time. However, if the immune system is weak, then the fungus normally found on everyone’s skin and mucous membranes can become a lethal threat. Insilico Biotechnology is participating in a joint project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), in which interactions between fungus and human host cells are to be studied on the molecular level with the aim of developing new strategies for the prevention, diagnosis and therapy of fungal infections.
Candida albicans is just one of the many organisms which belong to the normal microflora on the human skin and mucous membranes (e.g. mouth and intestinal tract). When a person is in a healthy state, the fungus is kept under control by the immune system and poses no problems. However, if the immune system has been weakened by illness, an operation, antibiotics or chemotherapy then the fungus can change from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. Candida infections can spread throughout the entire body and damage inner organs irreparably with lethal effects. Up to 70 percent of all fungal infections found in hospitals are caused by Candida albicans which underlines the medical relevance of this organism.