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Hopkins scientists link immune response to 'ghost' parasites and severely congested sinuses

l compound common to fungi, insects and roundworms, is not naturally found in the human body, the presence of its corresponding enzyme and its role in the buildup of mucus and fluids, and polyp formation makes the enzyme a legitimate target for drug therapies to block its production and action.

"If we can selectively shut down the antiparasite immune response, we could potentially have new treatments for these airway diseases of the lung and nose," says Lane.

New therapies are needed, he says, as an alternative to long-term steroids, which block the inflammatory chemical pathway but also have debilitating side effects, including loss of bone density, cataracts in the eye and weight gain.

An estimated 32 million Americans suffer from persistent inflammation of the tissue that lines the nasal and sinus cavities, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thirty-three men and women participated in the two-year study at Hopkins, designed to find out if any of the genetic traits already known to be common in asthmatics were as active in patients with sinusitis. Twenty-two were scheduled to have surgery for sinusitis, while the remaining 11 served as study controls, having surgery for some other ailment than sinusitis.

All those who underwent sinus surgery did so after standard therapy using antibiotics, decongestants and steroids had failed to stop their symptoms and keep their sinus inflammation from coming back. They also had nasal polyps, or tissue outgrowths resulting from the inflammation, which, Lane says, are particularly hard to treat.

In the surgery, a thin, tube-like endoscope is inserted into the nose, with a camera attached to provide a close-up view of the nasal and sinus passages. Slender surgical instruments placed alongside the endoscope allow surgeons to cut away inflamed tissue and polyps, clearing a path for the sinuses to drain normally. Lane says that if
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Source:Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions


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