Mayo Clinic Receives Patent for New Treatment of Chronic Sinus Infection

May 12, 2003 |

Mayo Clinic yesterday received broad patent coverage for a new treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), commonly called “sinus infection,” a disease that annually affects 32 million adults in the United States and currently has no Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment. Studies at Mayo Clinic have found the cause of CRS — a reaction to certain fungi — and demonstrated that the delivery of antifungal drugs directly into the nose and sinuses is safe and significantly reduces patients? symptoms. Improvements in asthma symptoms were noted in the same patient group. Past medical treatments for chronic sinus infections have been unsuccessful or produced severe side effects.

From Mayo Clinic:
Mayo Clinic Receives Patent for New Treatment of Chronic Sinus Infection

More than 32 million adults affected annually by disease

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic yesterday received broad patent coverage for a new treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), commonly called “sinus infection,” a disease that annually affects 32 million adults in the United States and currently has no Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment.

Studies at Mayo Clinic have found the cause of CRS — a reaction to certain fungi — and demonstrated that the delivery of antifungal drugs directly into the nose and sinuses is safe and significantly reduces patients? symptoms. Improvements in asthma symptoms were noted in the same patient group. Past medical treatments for chronic sinus infections have been unsuccessful or produced severe side effects.

“We?ve seen significant improvement in the quality of life for the large majority of patients with chronic sinus infection who were treated with antifungal drugs,” says David Sherris, M.D., a Mayo Clinic ear, nose and throat specialist and one of the project researchers. “Many of them had been miserable for years and were severely hampered at work and in social situations by their illness. Many are pain-free and able to breathe effectively through their noses for the first time in years.”

CRS is one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States. CRS produces nose and sinus problems characterized by nasal airway obstruction, loss of the sense of smell, postnasal drip, nasal congestion, nasal discharge, and head and face pain lasting three months or longer. It notably decreases the quality of patients? lives, impairing physical and social functioning, vitality and general health.

CRS has a significant impact on health care in the United States.

– The prevalence of CRS has increased by more than 50 percent in the past 10 years.

– CRS results in 18.3 million physician visits per year.

– Overall health-care expenditures attributable to CRS in the United States were estimated to be over $5.8 billion in 1996.

– In 2001, 27.9 million prescriptions were issued to treat CRS in the United States.

– Approximately $2 billion is spent annually to treat nasal and sinus disorders.

The road to the patents began with research at Mayo Clinic into the cause of the disease. Jens Ponikau, M.D., Eugene Kern, M.D., and Dr. Sherris, who are Mayo Clinic ear, nose and throat specialists, and Hirohito Kita, M.D., a Mayo Clinic allergic diseases researcher, led a group of investigators who demonstrated the presence of fungi in everyone?s nasal mucus. However, patients diagnosed with CRS have an immunologic response to the fungi causing activated white blood cells (eosinophils) to enter their mucus. The activated eosinophils release a major basic protein — a toxic protein — into the mucus, which attacks and kills the fungi but damages the nose and sinus membranes. The major basic protein also injures the epithelium, which allows bacteria to infect the tissues.

Mayo Clinic?s pioneering medical treatment for CRS is designed to stop antigen release by administering antifungal drugs. Without fungal antigens, the immune reaction does not occur, eosinophils do not enter the nasal mucus, major basic protein is not released and damage to the nasal and sinus linings is eliminated.

Clinical studies first conducted by Mayo Clinic found that this treatment provided greater improvement of symptoms than other treatments that have been used. Past treatments used by physicians include antibiotics and systemic or inhaled steroids, as well as endoscopic sinus surgery.

Mayo Clinic conducted a prospective open-label trial using amphotericin B, an antifungal drug, in 51 randomly selected CRS patients. Treatment with amphotericin B resulted in an improvement of CRS symptoms in 38 of 51, or 75 percent, of the patients. Endoscopically, 18 of 51, or 35 percent, of the patients became disease free; an additional 20 patients, or 39 percent, improved mildly; no effect was seen in 13, or 25 percent, of the patients. Researchers in Switzerland conducted a similar open trial and confirmed Mayo Clinic?s results.

The National Institutes of Health has committed itself to further investigation of the fungal link to chronic sinus infection and the role of antifungal medications in treatment of the disease, as cited on

So far, Mayo Clinic has received broad patent coverage that protects the delivery of antifungal drugs to mucus in the nose and sinuses. The patents are:

– 6,207,703 – Antifungal treatment of asthma – 6,291,500 – Antifungal treatment of colitis – 6,416,955 – Eosinophil degranulating conditions – 6,555,566 – Antifungal treatment of CRS

The issuance of the CRS treatment patent completes Mayo Clinic?s portfolio on antifungal treatment of inflammatory conditions such as CRS, asthma and colitis and may offer pharmaceutical companies an incentive to invest in this technology to make it widely available to patients. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office also has allowed claims for treatment of asthma and CRS combined; the patent is expected to be forthcoming.


Lee Aase
Lisa Copeland
John Murphy
507-284-5005 (days)

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43 Responses to Mayo Clinic Receives Patent for New Treatment of Chronic Sinus Infection

  1. Sinus Pressure Relief August 19, 2014 at 6:09 am #

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  2. von April 12, 2013 at 4:19 am #


  3. Nikolic October 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    Sometimes I did nasal irrigation like I saw on Youtube, It is a good method. For that I’m using some small jar and aprox. 0,4 L of clean mild warm water with half of small spoon of salt, and quoter of small spoon of sodium bicarbonate.

  4. Throat Infection August 28, 2012 at 5:26 am #

    look at this site… it has an additional information about infection…

  5. Throat Infection June 12, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    How to cure infection in sinus? Thanks!

  6. Sinus Headache Remedies April 20, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

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  7. Douglas Sheppard March 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Three Years ago I opened up a very contaminated cottage. It was full of mildew, mold and fungus. I did not take precautions and received a nasal condition which I first thought was an allergy. For 6 months it was confined to my sinus area and was extreme with constant watery nasal drip etc. It forced me to insert rolled up tissue into each nostril, sometimes during the day, but every night, so I was able to sleep.
    After 6 months,I was instructed to take a decongestant which resulted in the problem traveling to my lungs.
    I have been in and out of hospitals, on oxygen, had extreme breathing stress. On breathing assist machine several times and once on a total breathing apparatus, as I stopped breathing during a procedure to remove a 3cm gal stone.
    I am on prednisone (15mg daily), and am on a recommended diet which eliminates sugars and grains etc and am taking many things anti fungal such as Oregano, Olive Leaf extract , Grapefruit Seed Extract, anti fungal teas, etc etc.
    My life is on hold until I can beat this thing!
    Is there any way I can get assistance from the Mayo and their procedure?
    Please advise.

  8. Candice March 2, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    You can try colloidal silver nasal spray. I use Source Naturals. I had same problem as your daughter, even had surgery but that didn’t help was constantly on antibiotics which did little to no good except ruin my immune system. About 9 years ago I found the colloidal silver spray and within a week I was completely cured. Now if I feel something coming on I use the spray 2 or 3 times for a few days and it kills it. I have not used antibiotics since I started using this.

    Good luck

  9. Latigra February 12, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    I have had a sinus infection for 3 years! Did you finally get any help?

  10. my eos January 17, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    Very interesting. Continue to keep those reports going.

  11. Eye Stye Treatment May 3, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    Does anyone know what is the price for those medications, and are they safe to use?

  12. Elizabeth April 18, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    We have encountered the same in our 5 year old.for the last 3 years and numerous hospital stays and also found antibotic dont work or she is now allergic to. The only help with the continual 105 fevers was the use of pediatric nasal rinses which can be bought at the pharmacy for 14.00, this has stopped all fevers.The down side is that we have to do these 1-2 times a day, the upside is that she finds so much releif that she does them herself{with us watching standing next to her}. This is safe and natural and though she is still continually ill with sinus infections after having a TA she doesnt have fevers anymore.We see Dr.’s at the childrens hospital on Omaha and they are all at a loss. We are tired of all the meds,sprays,ect. they have thrown at up hopeing that one would stick, they just turn her green or make her stomach violently ill, which has made her suseptible to other colds and flu’s.

    My prayers are with you,


  13. Lisa March 31, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    There are several other research hospitals you should try, notable the Cleveland Clinic, Vanderbilt University, or Emory University. Your daughter may be able to see a specialist in one of these facilities faster. Good luck to you! I hope she gets better soon!

  14. Mom of 3 March 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    I am at the end of my rope, my daughter is 3 years old today. She has been suffereing with chonic sinus infections among other things since she was 6 months old. We have tried antibiotics only to find that they don’t work or she is allergic to them. We have done elimination diets (no dairy, wheat, gluten, corn, soy, nut, shellfish) we did this for a year, then gradually added foods back in. She still doesn’t eat most of them, just some dairy (once per day) and wheat (1-2 times per day). She had had 4 sinus CTs and they all look terrible. She had been on Gentimicin in the form of a nasal solution for about 2 months, this has been most effective, yet she still suffers. She develops soaring fevers and is lethargic and quite ill daily. She’s been hospitalized 4 times. This past Saturday she developed a 105 fever, they couldn’t find what was causing it, but said her blood showed infection, so she got a shot of rosefin (sp?) and and oral cefdinir (sp?). She has had sinus surgery once, now they want to go back in and cut to create more drainage passages, scheduled for Wednesday. Any help you have suggestions. We called mayo the ped wait list is a mile long!

  15. ***I NEED HELP WITH SINUS INFECTION*** December 20, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    I made a mistake in my previous post.

    I put a capful of pure lemon juice and
    some regular table salt in my HUMIDIFIER
    and not my AIR PURIFIER.

    I also own an AIR PURIFER and sleep
    with it every single night.

    Have any of you added anything to
    your HUMIDIFIER like I did in order
    to get nose congestion relief?

    I am truly amazed at what the lemon juice
    and the salt did to me. I had never seen so much
    mucus come out of my nose like it did when I did that.
    I can breathe better today too with less stuffiness.

  16. ***I NEED HELP WITH SINUS INFECTION*** December 20, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    Hi, everyone. I too have problems with my sinuses and I was wondering if any of you know where I can get the “anti-fungal nasal spray” or an “anti-fungal netti pot additive” like the MAYO CLINIC
    was talking about one using anti-fungal medicine in their post?
    Also, do you know of any websites that sell natural products
    to help the sinuses perhaps?

    Here lately, I took a cotton swab and put a very tiny
    amount of hydrogen poroxide on the swab and I
    cleaned my nose with the swab BEFORE doing
    cleaning my nose with a netti pot with the saline solution.

    Last night before I went to bed, I filled up my HUMIDIFIER
    with water and a couple of shakes of the regular salt shaker
    and a capful of pure lemon juice.

    When I woke up the next morning, I sneezed 3 times
    and my nose was very stuffy and it had never done that before.
    Then, I cleaned my nose with my netti pot and TONS of MUCUS
    came out of my nose like never before!!!! I really think that the salt and lemon juice in my air purifier helped me! I think I will try apple cider vinegar and baking soda in the air purifer next time to see what happens.

    Have any of you ever tried to add things into your HUMIDIFER
    to help get the nasal congestion out?

    Please someone reply back to my post and let me know if any of you know where I can get the “anti-fungal nasal spray” or an “anti-fungal netti pot additive” like the MAYO CLINIC was talking about one using anti-fungal medicine in their post? Also, do you know of any websites that sell natural products to help the sinuses perhaps?

    Thanks so much!
    T.B. in VA

  17. michel doucet December 13, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    how much sodium bicarbonate , or apple vinegar
    for 8 onces of water ?
    thank you
    Michel Doucet

  18. Erica December 4, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    Oh and one other note for all my fellow sufferers :)

    If you make a “tea” with lemon and FRESH GINGER ROOT, and add in a “jalepeno” or a strong chili pepper, with some RAW honey, it is a natural decongestant. And it works too. You have to drink it as hot as possible and a few times a day, but you can make it in a large batch and keep it for a few days and heat it up. The flavors will be stronger and it wont make you sick the ginger is a natural stomach ease. Just a thought to all the people who are tired of taking medicine like sudafed. I dont think it works too well…

  19. Erica December 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    Man, I am glad that there are people in the medical field that are starting to realize anti-biotics dont work for all things!

    I am 32 here in a few weeks, and I have had Sinus infections all my life. I have been diagnosed with severe allergies and asthma and bronchitis as a child. Funny enough this past year, I finally went to ta proper ENT and found out that I do not have Allergies, or Asthma, and certainly not bronchitis. Ive been living on antibiotics for so long because no one really knows what is going on. He ran a CAT scan on my head and found out that I had a SEVERE frontal lobe sinus infection. And he estimated that it was about 10 years old, and that he was shocked it didnt kill me. Imagine that, Ive been living with all this stuff in my head for a long time. He put me on a 6 week STRONG anti -biotic, but than told me after this shock that I needed to not take certain things like aspirin, or drink alot of milk, etc. And that I need to really not take anti – biotics. So I felt great for about half this past year after getting rid of the infection.

    Well here I am, a few weeks til Christmas, I get this dizzy feeling and vertigo again, and bam. Cold, followed by enormous sinus pressure and pain, and I know its back. I can feel it in my ears and throat and head and its terrible. I hate being sick and after feeling so good for so long, Im devistated. But I believe in the power of natural remedies so I am going to try a few things first and see what happens. after that Im going back in to see my ENT and show him this article and make him either help me or refer me to someone who can! Even if I have to see a sports medicine doctor and get relief there I WILL! (By the way, sports medicine doctors usually provide more natural cures than regular doctors. :) Stuff without all of the heavy drugs. )

    Thank you Mayo, and I know this post is old, but I just now stumbledup on it! I havent seen any new anything in the pharmacy, so I am wondering why its not out yet???

  20. Frank November 13, 2010 at 4:24 am #

    Well worth a shot.

    Alcohol Rehab

  21. Sonja November 12, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    thank you for sharing your experience. For the past four years I have been dealing with a constant swelling of my turbinates and nothing has helped. I have always suggested that what I was experiences was directly related to yeast or fungus of some sort but my general physician thought it was impossible, unless my immune system was compromised, ie. AIDS! I assured him that I most certainly did not have HIV or AIDS and backed it up with testing. After that he could only suggest surgery! WOW

    Now that the renowned Mayo Clinic has published its finding and started treating fungal related chronic nasal congestion and infection, I feel like there is some hope. I have made an appointment to see the head ENT within my health plan. Thank you for arming me with this information!
    Bless you!!!!

  22. Kristen October 29, 2010 at 9:19 am #

    saw your post today and while it is from time ago..I thought I would reply. I have CRS and have been battling for about 2 years. After surgery, repeated rounds of steroid sprays, prednisone, anti-biotics…with no lasting results…I booked myself an appt at the Mayo. Like others on this site…i’d been dealing with extreme fatigue and had impacted my day to day life.

    I am fortunate to only live 2 hours away. The level of care I received was Off The Charts and like nothing I’ve experienced before. All of the docs work together and no worry about referrals or protecting thier own turf. Quite amazing and different. it is ashame that more clinics don’t use this type of collaberative/outcome based model.

    Getting to the point, I tested positive for a very high level of major basic protein in the mucus that is produced in my sinus cavities. I am now using a 2x daily anti-fungal rinse….feel like a new woman! It is working for me. It has been explained to me that this is an ongoing disease that they don’t have a cure for (at least at this time)…but have given me the tools and knowledge to manage and live with it.

    If you can’t make it to the Mayo, I would encourage you to talk about this patent and study with your local ENT. If he/she is not open to discussing…get a new ENT. Don’t keep doing the same over and over without improvement…YOU need to take charge of your health. Your doc is NOT in charge.

  23. Anonymous October 6, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

    Dr.Oz said Brain infection can be caused by sinis infection

  24. Erin September 5, 2010 at 3:19 am #

    I just came across the site while having another restless night dealing with severe chronic sinusitis. Did you try the fungi treatment? I have tried everything including sugery with no relief. I’m 33 and have have this now for 13 long years.

  25. Wade July 10, 2010 at 7:19 pm #

    My wife is always giving me one scent or another for for whatever ails me, and oregano seems to help a considerable amount. Just the heated oil in a burner in the room helps with my sinus infections.

  26. Andrew Levy June 30, 2010 at 7:32 am #

    I have had polyps for 15 years. I have tried everything and only prednisone does the job, but at what cost? I have recently had a swab done for fungal infection. I will report back.

  27. Paul Sayre June 7, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    To everyone, Sinus disease has eroded my life and my will for the past seven years. Serious chronic sinus disease is utterly devastating in a way that cannot be understood theoretically; it can be comprehended only firsthand. I am curious and hopeful regarding this new work by the Mayo Clinic; however, my hope is tempered with skepticism. My real reason for posting here is to connect with someone else who has truly experienced sinus disease.

  28. Richard May 30, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    I have had a sinus pain for 15 years with no relief. How do I found out if Fungus is the problem?

  29. Casey May 28, 2010 at 8:38 pm #


  30. Anonymous May 28, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    Where do you purchase the patented product for sinus relief.

  31. Anonymous November 17, 2009 at 5:52 am #

    Could you tell me how much of the oil of oregano you take. I have had sinus problems for years.

  32. Anonymous November 15, 2009 at 7:30 pm #

    Oil of oregano drops by mouth with a good refrigerated probiotic, get from your pharmacy

    netti pot with top grade colloidal silver drop and saline solution daily

    get off all dairy and gluten, very low sugar for several weeks

    gargle with water and baking soda

    take vitamin c

    I liked a book called I believe.. The sinus solution

    these steps really helped

    And not to be gross but after netti pot and nose blowing try to suck mucus down to the throat to spit out rather than blowing. It helps to pull thick mucus out rather than more inflammation by blowing. You’ll start to feel ears unclog

  33. Anonymous November 7, 2009 at 4:55 am #

    I stumbled on to my cure accidentally, but cured none the less! I recently went to my doctor and was having a talk about the natural things I am doing for my health. When I mentioned what I was doing and how I USED to come to him each year for antibiotic treatment that lasted several months for chronic sinus infections, and how I didn’t have to do that for years now. He amazed me by picking up my chart and, in my presence, looked at it slowly from front to back and when he realized that what I was saying was true he wanted to know what I started taking that had stopped me from coming in annually for my antibiotics. He not only listened, but took notes! I love that man! (Dr. Anthony Remson in Louisville, KY) So I proceeded to tell him that the year I stopped coming in was the first fall after I received my first box of Dr. Ohirra’s probiotics for Christmas! I started taking them every day that year and have never stopped. I have not had a sinus infection since and that was eight years ago! The other thing I did was started taking Oil of Oregano a powerful….ANTI-FUNGAL!!! This works for me… there are other anti-fungals that I alternate with….Apple Cider Vinegar, baking soda mixed with water. Recently I bought a Neti Pot and low and behold the mixture contained Sodium Bicarbonate…non other than….Baking Soda a powerful anti-fungal. I still have allergy symptoms so I continue my preventative measures and remain SINUS INFECTION FREE!!!!!

  34. Anonymous October 27, 2009 at 1:35 pm #

    I thought i was alone. I am tried of being miserable! I have been dealing with the worst sinus infections for the last 5 years. Everyone thinks i’m crazy. I have had two sinus surgeries and am constantly on antibiotics. As i type this my checks closer to my nose are hot and feel like they are on fire also around the bottom of my lips. I also have pain going down my back. On the second day of antibiotics this usually goes away but comes back within a week after i finish the prescription. I am going to the Dr. today for more antibiotics. Does anyone have the same symtoms that i have? Morgan

  35. Anonymous June 17, 2009 at 6:46 am #

    It’s June 2009, still no update on what this medication is? I saw a Ear Nose & Throat doctor 5 months ago, he wants to do surgery, no mention of anti-fungal medication.

    How long does it take for the Mayo’s research to tickle-down to the main-stream doctors?

  36. Anonymous February 5, 2009 at 8:54 am #

    I’ve been sick with this crap for years i would like to feel good for a least one day it makes you tired makes your face and ears throat and your whole body ache i need help will this help

  37. Anonymous April 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm #

    It makes me sad to think of how long I have lived with these issues. In pain and no one seems to understand. After a while I just stop talking about it. I feel that the people around me get sick of hearing about it, and they certainly can’t understand. I had surgery 8&1/2 years ago. I would do it again if it will help. But having it done and now being in this position again, I would like to know what other options I have. The doctor I am currently seeing seems to be going about it that same old way. I have taken and am taking antibiotics. The last few months of my life I have lived on antibiotics.

    I am tired of my quality of life being so deeply impaired. I am tired of feeling like a P.I.T.A. just because I want to feel better… feel normal.


  38. Anonymous September 25, 2008 at 12:04 am #

    How can i get the medicine. I have spent thousands of dollars trying to heal my sinus …..every antibiotic you would think of. Please help…

  39. Renaisauce March 10, 2008 at 6:06 am #

    The comment about the patent is interesting, but I think the Mayo Clinic has a legit claim. If you read the patent, it covers the use of different formulations of anti-fungal, vehicle, and other things like anti-inflammatories. The combinations can be unique and adjustable for different severities and cases.

    I don’t think it will keep you from getting treated. I do think we’ll be seeing sinusitis spray bottles in your local pharmacy very soon.

    The other way to look at this is what would happen if they didn’t patent the mixture. All kinds of people would be mixing in fungicide with saline and passing it off as a cure. I’d rather have exclusive manufacturing in the hands of the people who have done the research and know what they’re doing.

  40. Anonymous March 9, 2008 at 8:14 am #

    It’s not a new drug or technology. It’s probably stopped us all getting effective treatment immediately.

  41. Anonymous October 18, 2007 at 10:42 am #

    Sterilize a nose spray bottle w/peroxide, let it dry
    and fill 1/3 full of Listerine. Don’t use more that
    twice a week. Burns at first but it works.

    Note from Science Blog editors: While we’re posting this comment, be warned: No one should use Science Blog, or the medical advice contained in such comments, as anything other than interesting reading. All such advice is likely to cause spontaneous stigmata, uncontrolled belching, and hysterical blindness. Really. If you have a health concern GO TO YOUR DOCTOR.

  42. Anonymous September 9, 2006 at 5:20 pm #

    I’d like to know how to get the medications also.

  43. August 27, 2006 at 6:29 pm #

    How is the medication administered and how can I get it???


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