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.