SPARK team publishes key paper on treating ear infection

SPARK team publishes key paper on treating ear infection

Posted on April 7th, 2021

SPARK Associate Director Peter Santa Maria and his SPARK team have been focusing on treating a chronic ear infection called chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM) through topical means, rather than surgery. In a paper published on April 6 in npj Biofilms and Microbiomes, Dr. Santa Maria and his colleagues noted that CSOM is “a widespread, debilitating problem with poorly understood immunology” and identified an immunomodulatory therapy that could help treat the condition.

Using a mouse model of CSOM that their team recently developed, the group showed treatment with a neutrophil elastase inhibitor and ofloxacin reduced levels of the disease-causing bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The authors concluded that the “results strongly implicate neutrophils in the ineffective immune response to P. aeruginosa infection observed in CSOM,” and “indicate that it may be possible to target neutrophil elastase as an adjunctive treatment in CSOM.”

The authors further suggested that “adjunctive inhibition of elastase and other host-directed therapeutics might help counter the growing problem of ineffective antibiotics and promote clearance of P. aeruginosa biofilm infection.”

Dr. Santa Maria and his colleagues have been targeting the issue of chronic ear infection and how to treat it non-surgically, particularly in children in areas of the developing world where surgery is inaccessible and the condition can lead to permanent hearing loss. You can read more about Dr. Santa Maria’s journey in SPARK’s blog here.