Mayo Clinic Receives Patent for New Treatment of Chronic Sinus Infection

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 http://www.niaid.nih.gov/director/congress/2002/cj/sigitems.htm.

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.

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Lee Aase
Lisa Copeland
John Murphy
507-284-5005 (days)
507-284-2511(evenings)
email:[email protected]


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44 thoughts on “Mayo Clinic Receives Patent for New Treatment of Chronic Sinus Infection”

  1. Definitely consider that which you stated. Your favourite justification seemed to be at the net the simplest factor to understand of. I say to you, I definitely get irked even as folks consider concerns that they just don’t recognize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as smartly as outlined out the whole thing with no need side-effects , other people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thank you

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

    • 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!

      • 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,

        Elizabeth

    • 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

  4. 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

    • ***CORRECTION***
      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.

  5. 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…

  6. 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???

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    • 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.

    • Paul,
      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.

      • Kristen,
        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!!!!

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

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