How can I help?
Spread the word
By sharing the videos on social media, you'll help us get the word out. Spreading knowledge about Malassezia to researchers and doctors will accelerate our understanding of the role it plays in various diseases, and help find cures. If you'd like to write about The Malassezia Project, please get in touch with us.
It’s not possible to reach any conclusion with anecdotal evidence. However, such evidence can sometimes allow us to use the right keywords when searching the medical literature, revealing important studies which we had missed. For example, friends sent me links to a blog post and patent, which is how I ended up finding Samuel et al 2010. If you would like to share your own experience, or links to forums or blog posts describing interesting cases, please do so here.
Contribute to research
You can design experiments and fund academic research groups to test Malassezia’s role and the efficacy of antifungal drugs in human disease. You can put us in touch with researchers interested in contributing to this project. Experiments and clinical trials currently planned or underway are described below.
Experiments and clinical trials
Histology / Microscopy
Malassezia's presence in the body has been reported by many groups using DNA sequencing and metagenomics. Direct histological evidence of its presence is currently limited to the skin. “The Malassezia Histology / Microscopy Project” consists of designing and applying histological techniques (FISH, IHC) to detect Malassezia in internal organs using microscopy.
Antibodies against Malassezia are associated with psoriasis (Squiquera et al 1994; Liang et al 2003). “The Malassezia Serology Project” consists of replicating these studies in other autoimmune diseases where antibodies against fungal antigens have been found (specifically in Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus erythematosus).
IFN-y Release Assay
In psoriasis, white blood cells release interferon gamma (IFN-y) when exposed to Malassezia antigens (Kanda et al 2002), likely because T cells are specifically targeting Malassezia on the skin. “The Malassezia IFN-y Release Assay Project” consists of replicating this study in other autoimmune diseases mainly involving T cells (specifically in Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, acute anterior uveitis, spondyloarthritis, chronic prostatitis).
Crohn's & Itraconazole
A small study reported that the antifungal drug itraconazole caused remission in four out of five Crohn's patients who ceased other forms of treatment (Samuel et al 2010). “The Crohn's & Itraconazole Project” consists of replicating this study with more patients and with a placebo control group. If successful, this study would show that itraconazole is an effective treatment for Crohn’s disease.
Deep-sequencing / Metagenomics
A study of teenagers with Crohn's disease reported that gut biopsies were much more likely to contain Malassezia in patients than controls (Kellermayer et al 2012). A similar study measured Malassezia DNA in stool of ulcerative colitis patients, reporting that Malassezia levels spiked during flares (Richard 2018). “The Malassezia Deep-sequencing / Metagenomics Project” consists of comparing the microbiome of inflamed organs in young patients and controls, to replicate the studies above in other idiopathic inflammatory diseases.
A study reported that dead Malassezia cells applied to the skin triggered psoriatic lesions (Lober et al 1982). “The Malassezia Patch Test Project” consists of replicating this study with a wider range of species.