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NIAID supports research into etiology of fungal-induced inflammation in chronic sinusitis

ce, associate professor at VBI, will head the work at VBI in collaboration with VBI assistant professor Dharmendar Rathore. Researchers at Mayo, including clinical assistant professor Jens Ponikau, who is now at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, and Hirohito Kita, professor of Immunology and the director of the Allergic Diseases Laboratory at Mayo, carried out extensive research at the Mayo Clinic which identified a fungal origin for CS.

Accentia Biopharmaceuticals is commercializing a diagnostic and developing a treatment for CS based on the published technology discovered at the Mayo Clinic. Investigators at Mayo discovered that a ubiquitous, normally innocuous mold, Alternaria, colonizes the mucus of the nose and sinus of virtually everybody, but in patients with CS, this non-invasive mold elicits an eosinophilic inflammatory response characterized by release of eosinophil major basic protein (eMBP) in the mucus, which then damages the mucosal epithelial lining of the nose and sinuses and leads to the inflammatory mucosal changes characteristic of CS.

Dr. Jens Ponikau, Assistant Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology, University at Buffalo, commented: Research supported by the National Institutes of Health had previously shown that CS patients have an exaggerated immune response to certain fungi, specifically Alternaria species. The patients reacted to the fungi with the production of the inflammatory mediators, which are crucial for the inflammation in CS, whereas healthy subjects were not reacting. The renewal of the NIH grant will allow Dr. Kita and Dr. Lawrence to further pinpoint the mechanism by which the fungus causes the inflammation, and specifically what fungal products are involved. Both are important milestones to deepen our understanding about CS, and will help us to better understand the mechanism of action of newer treatment approaches, such as anti-fungal therapy.

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Contact: Janet Vasquez
jvasquez@investorrelationsgroup.com
212-825-3210
The Investor Relations Group
1-Jun-2007


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