Middle Ear Infections

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    • #2859 Score: 0
        2 pts

        Glad to see investment finally trickle into innovative companies working on solving chronic biofilm problems…

        In the meantime, if your kids have middle ear infections, just use a xylitol-based solution (like the one from Xlear Products) to get rid of the middle ear infection! It’s ironic that ear tubes themselves can cause infection.

        Selenium, Ltd. Receives NIH Research Grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

        LUBBOCK, Texas & AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Selenium, Ltd., a biopharmaceutical company focused on unique solutions to meet antimicrobial coating and therapeutic needs, has been awarded a research grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, one of the National Institutes of Health. With the $155,387 NIH grant the company will apply its proprietary antimicrobial technology to researching the inhibition of biofilms on tympanostomy tubes. Selenium’s SeLECTTM technology addresses the need for a safer, more effective and less costly antimicrobial coating technology that can reduce the risk of bacterial infection.

        Selenium, Ltd. President, Kris Looney, said, “This grant is the second one this year we received from the National Institutes of Health. The grants represent important milestones for Selenium confirming the validity and significance of our technology. SeLECT technology holds great potential for numerous medical applications, including improving the safety and efficacy of tympanostomy tubes by inhibiting biofilm formation.”

        “Keeping the ear free of bacterial contamination and biofilm growth on tympanostomy tubes is very important,” explained Dr. John Griswold, MD, Professor and Chairman, Department of Surgery, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. “The excellent results from Selenium’s antimicrobial coating show significant promise in sustained protection of the ear tube surface from infection. An antimicrobial coating that can prevent bacterial colonization on implanted medical devices is a timely, critical breakthrough.”

        Ear infections are one of the most common illnesses among children, with annual direct and indirect costs of $3 billion to $5 billion in the United States.1 Treatment of recurring ear infections in children can include insertion of tympanostomy tubes, one of the most common surgical procedures performed in children. Tympanostomy tubes are tiny, hollow tube cylinders placed through the ear drum (tympanic membrane) to allow air into the middle ear.

        A possible complication from the procedure is infection. Selenium’s SeLECTTM technology provides a natural antimicrobial coating for tympanostomy tubes engineered to safely and effectively combat the risk of bacterial infection.

        Medical Device Coatings Target for Selenium

        A “green technology,” Selenium Ltd.’s proprietary chemistry is able to inhibit microbial growth on surfaces through a natural, safe catalytic reaction that does not leach chemicals or toxins into the surrounding environment. Target markets for SeLECT technology are medical device coatings and industrial coatings.

        Selenium is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the strategic opportunities developing in the medical device coatings industry. According to a March 2010 report by US firm Global Industry Analysts, the world market for medical device coatings could exceed $7.5 billion by 2015.

        About Selenium, Ltd.

        Selenium, Ltd. was founded in 2004 based on discoveries made by Co-Chief Scientists Julian Spallholz, Ph.D. and Ted Reid, Ph.D., professors within the Texas Tech University System. Their work revealed that certain organo-selenium molecules are catalytic and produce super oxide radicals, resulting in a lethal, but short-range toxicity to surrounding cells. Thus, selenium-coated surfaces act as an impenetrable barrier to microbes and other cells, and selenium-armed molecules will selectively destroy targeted cells. Selenium, Ltd. is an Emergent Technologies Inc. (ETI) portfolio company, and ETI provides all management services. For more information, visit the company website Selenium, Ltd..


        1 Bhattacharyya N., Shapiro NL. Air quality improvement and the prevalence of frequent ear infections in children. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surgery. 2010Feb; 142(2): 242-6

        Source: Selenium, Ltd. Receives NIH Research Grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders | Business Wire

      • #3430 Score: 0
          2 pts

          Chronic, resistant ear infections strengthened due to bacterial communication?

          A prior analysis suggested an association between ear infection and obesity. Most ear infections caused by more than one species of bacteria can supposedly be more chronic and antibiotic-resistant. This is because one pathogen seemingly communicates with the other, encouraging it to assist its defenses. Investigators from the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have apparently revealed that interrupting or removing the communication can help cure the infection.

          Otitis media (OM) is considered to be among the most common childhood infections. The ailment not only lasts for a long time, but also appears to be antibiotic resistant. The researchers explained that such prolonged and recurrent cases of OM encompass the persistence of the bacteria within a biofilm community. The latter is claimed to be a state in which they are highly resistantant to natural clearance by the immune system as well as to the antibiotic treatment.

          W. Edward Swords, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology and senior author of the research remarked, “Interestingly, a recent research found M. catarrhalis to be more frequently associated with polymicrobial OM infections than from single-species OM infections. This suggests that the presence of other bacterial pathogens may impact the persistence of M. catarrhalis or the severity of disease caused by this species

          During the research, the scientists probably aimed to highlight the communication between bacterial species known to promote bacterial persistence and resistance to antibiotics. These are assumed to be crucial considerations in the diagnosis, preventions and treatment of OM. Claimed to have scrutinized epidemiological data, the researchers affirmed that most of chronic OM infections are polymicrobial in nature. This means that they are probably caused by more than one species of bacteria. Samples of patients with chronic and recurrent OM usually seem to register Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis together.

          Swords commented, “We conclude that H. influenzae promotes M. catarrhalis persistence within polymicrobial infection biofilms via inter-species quorum signaling. AI-2 may therefore represent an ideal target for disruption of chronic polymicrobial infections. Moreover, these results strongly imply that successful vaccination against the unencapsulated H. influenzae strains that cause airway infections may also significantly impact chronic M. catarrhalis disease by removing a reservoir for the AI-2 signal that promotes M. catarrhalis persistence within biofilms.”

          The experts ascertained to have analyzed the dynamics between these two bacteria in culture and animal models. The H. influenzae secreted autoinducer-2 (AI-2) that was then supposedly identified as a chemical involved in an interbacterial method of communication which is termed as quorum sensing. This is possibly responsible for the elevation of biofilm formation and antibiotic resistance in M. catarrhalis.

          The research is published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

        • #3447 Score: 0
            2 pts

            J Clin Microbiol. 2011 Feb 9. [Epub ahead of print]

            An Adenoid Reservoir for Pathogenic Biofilm Bacteria.
            Nistico L, Kreft R, Gieseke A, Coticchia JM, Burrows A, Khampang P, Liu Y, Kerschner JE, Post JC, Lonergan S, Sampath R, Hu FZ, Ehrlich GD, Stoodley P, Hall-Stoodley L.

            Center for Genomic Sciences, Allegheny-Singer Research Institute, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA; Max-Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany; Wayne State University, Detroit, MI; Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI; Drexel University College of Medicine, Allegheny Campus, Pittsburgh, PA; Ibis Division, Isis Corporation, Carlsbad CA; University of Southampton, National Centre for Advanced Tribology, School of Engineering Sciences, United Kingdom; University of Southampton, Infection, Inflammation & Immunity Division, Faculty of Medicine, NIHR Respiratory BRU & Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, Southampton, United Kingdom.

            Biofilms of pathogenic bacteria are present on the middle ear mucosa of children with chronic otitis media (COM) and may contribute to the persistence of pathogens and the recalcitrance of COM to antibiotic treatment. Controlled studies indicate that adenoidectomy is effective in the treatment of COM, suggesting that the adenoids may act as a reservoir for COM pathogens.

            To investigate the bacterial community in the adenoid, samples were obtained from 35 children undergoing adenoidectomy for chronic OM or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). We used a novel, culture-independent molecular diagnostic methodology followed by confocal microscopy (CM) to investigate the in situ distribution and organization of pathogens in the adenoids to determine if pathogenic bacteria exhibited criteria characteristic of biofilms. The Ibis T5000 Universal Biosensor System was used to interrogate the extent of the microbial diversity within adenoid biopsies. Using a suite of 16 broad-range bacterial primers we demonstrated that adenoids from both diagnostic groups were colonized with polymicrobial biofilms. Haemophilus influenzae was present in more adenoids from the COM group (P = 0.005), but there was no significant difference between the two patient groups for Streptococcus pneumoniae or Staphylococcus aureus.

            Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), lectin binding and antibodies specific for host epithelial cells demonstrated that pathogens were aggregated, surrounded by a carbohydrate matrix, and localized on and within the epithelial cell surface, consistent with criteria for bacterial biofilms.

          • #2860 Score: 0
              2 pts

              Biodegradable Pellet Targets Glue Ear Infection

              A biodegradable pellet that slowly releases antibiotics into the middle ear could transform the lives of thousands of children who suffer from glue ear. Scientists at The University of Nottingham have developed the tiny controlled-release antibiotic pellet which can be implanted in the middle ear during surgery to fit grommets, or small ventilation tubes. Over a period of three weeks it will release effective quantities of antibiotics to target any infection which can, in up to 20 per cent of cases, result in children having to return for a second and sometimes a third operation.

              The team has been led by John Birchall, Professor of Otorhinolaryngology, and Roger Bayston, Associate Professor of Surgical Infection, in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Professor Birchall said: “Glue ear is one of the commonest complaints that we see in children in the ENT clinic. The condition causes hearing loss, problems with speech or schooling, and often it is accompanied by repeated ear infections. We are particularly concerned about children that have glue ear that comes back despite grommet surgery — with risks of permanent damage to the ear drum or the middle ear. This exciting new research to try to reduce the need for repeated grommet insertion involves ENT surgeons, microbiologists and pharmacists. Having such a multidisciplinary team on board means that we can take advantage of all the expertise available to help these children.”

              Up to 80 per cent of children are affected temporarily by glue ear. Glue ear causes hearing impairment and subsequently can affect speech and schooling. Glue ear can also be associated with frequent ear infections. As many as 33,000 grommets are fitted in England and Wales every year. In Nottingham alone 300 to 400 children are referred to a specialist — 100 of them will require grommets. Whilst treatment with grommets is effective, the grommets are designed to extrude after about nine months or so. Unfortunately glue ear can return and one in five children will have to have surgery again.

              Glue ear happens when a thick mucus collects inside the ear, at the other side of the ear drum. This interferes with hearing and therefore with schooling, social development and relationships with friends and siblings. Following research by this group and others, it is now recognized that glue ear is caused by biofilms — bacteria which grow together in a protective ‘slime’. They are very difficult to treat because they are capable of turning off target sites for common antibiotics, becoming up to 1,000 times less susceptible. In a significant proportion of cases, antibiotics have only a temporary effect and repeated grommet operations are needed.

              First, the team produced a biodegradable pellet capable of doing the job. Dr Mat Daniel said: “We tested antibiotics against biofilms in the laboratory but it rapidly became apparent that very much higher levels of antibiotics would be needed. Because of that we knew that giving antibiotics by mouth was not going to work. We developed this biodegradable antibiotic pellet so we could put it directly into the ear — where the actual infection is. We hope that in the future this may very much reduce the need for any children to have more than one operation.”

              Next, they found a way of demolishing the biofilm to make the infection easier to treat. This work has been the responsibility of Dr Saif Al-Zahid. He said: “Bacteria in biofilms are held together in a strong matrix. We have recently found that the expectorant N-Acetylcysteine is able to break down this biofilm matrix effectively — thereby releasing bacteria to a free-floating planktonic form.

              In doing so antibiotics become much more effective in killing bacteria as the protective properties of a biofilm are no longer present. N-Acetylcysteine has an added benefit due to its mucus reducing properties — this is desirable in glue ear as the middle ear is filled with a thick mucus secretion. As a result the addition of N-Acetylcysteine in our antibiotic pellet would be likely to increase the chance of eradicating middle ear biofilms and speed up the resolution of glue ear.”

              This team of researchers are working in the Biomaterials — Related Infection Group in the School of Clinical Sciences — headed by Roger Bayston. They have been supported by grants from the Medical Research Council and a range of medical charities, and they are also supported by the National Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) in Hearing, established in 2008 as part of the National Institute for Health Research. It is the only BRU funded to pursue translation research in deafness and hearing problems and is based on a partnership between The University of Nottingham, Nottingham University Hospitals Trust and the Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research. Other partners in this research group include Professor Kevin Shakesheff in the School of Pharmacy and the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences.

              MRC funded a substantial part of this research together with the Sir Samuel Scott of Yews Trust, the Mason Medical Research Trust, Nottingham University Hospitals Charity, Midland Institute of Otolaryngology, Nottingham ENT Foundation and the Royal Society of Medicine.

              Source: University of Nottingham

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