Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Johns Hopkins researchers track down protein responsible for chronic rhinosinusitis with polyps

New target may eventually help doctors treat often intractable disease

A protein known to stimulate blood vessel growth has now been found to be responsible for the cell overgrowth in the development of polyps that characterize one of the most severe forms of sinusitis, a study by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests. The finding gives scientists a new target for developing novel therapies to treat this form of the disease, which typically resists all current treatments.

Chronic sinusitis, a constant irritation and swelling of the nasal passages, is a common condition thought to affect about one out of every six people. This problem has several forms with a range of severities. One of the most severe forms produces polyps, overgrowths of unhealthy sinus tissue that can block the nose and sinus passages and make breathing through the nose difficult or impossible. This often results in pain, swelling, and an increase in infections. Though researchers aren't sure how many people have this subtype, it's estimated to affect between 15 and 30 percent of sinusitis patients.

"This type of sinusitis isn't subtle—you can spot the patients with polyps from across the room. They're breathing through their mouths, they talk with nasal voices, they're constantly sniffling, and their faces are swollen," says Jean Kim, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Departments of Otolaryngology and Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a researcher at the Johns Hopkins Allergy and Asthma Center at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

Kim explains that surgery to remove the polyps is one of the most common treatments for this disease. However, nasal and sinus polyps in these patients almost always regrow. "Once the patient has entered the cycle of growing polyps, it's very hard to get out," she says. Another common treatment is oral steroids, but these drugs are fraught with many harmful side effects and also only temporarily treat the disease.

She and her Johns Hopkins colleagues have long studied sinusitis, often growing sinus cells isolated from patients in petri dishes. After noticing that cells from patients with polyps typically multiplied faster than cells from normal patients, the researchers speculated that cells from polyp patients might be producing extra amounts of some type of growth factor, a protein that encourages cell growth.

To identify which growth factor might be to blame, the researchers had sinusitis patients with and without polyps rinse their sinus passages with a wash solution, then tested the runoff for the presence of various growth factors. They found that solution from patients with polyps contained high amounts of a substance called vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF, a protein important for normal blood vessel growth that also seems to play a key role in a variety of diseases, including cancer. The more VEGF they found in a cell culture, the faster those cells grew.

To further examine whether this protein is present not only in the sinus passages but also in the sinus tissue, Kim and her colleagues used a stain that highlights VEGF on sinus tissue removed from polyp-producing patients and those with other types of sinusitis. The stained tissue from polyp patients "lit up very dramatically, like a city skyline," Kim says, while the tissue from other patients showed little to no staining.

Though these results confirmed that the sinuses of patients with polyps were overproducing VEGF, the researchers still weren't sure that VEGF was instigating cell overgrowth seen in polyps. Looking for a cause-and-effect relationship, Kim and her team treated cells isolated from sinusitis patients with agents that inhibit VEGF production and action. The cells from polyp-producing patients slowed their growth rate to match that of normal patients.

"It's a strong indicator that VEGF is indeed responsible for the over-exuberant cell growth that contributes to polyp development," Kim says.

Her findings, published in the Dec. 1 American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, suggest that doctors may eventually treat sinusitis in patients with polyps using therapies that reduce VEGF in sinus tissues. "In the future, we might have a nasal spray with an anti-VEGF agent in it," she proposes.

The results also suggest a new way of predicting which patients will go on to develop polyps. They might also simplify tracking the progression of the disease, a process which now relies on repeated CT-scans, which expose patients to radiation. Since many patients with polyps already use sinus washes to ease their symptoms, doctors may be able to use any VEGF present in the runoff from these washes as a marker for the disease and its severity.

Other researchers who participated in this study include Hyun Sil Lee, Ph.D., and Allen Myers, Ph.D.

For more information, go to:

Christen Brownlee | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Scientists develop tiny tooth-mounted sensors that can track what you eat
22.03.2018 | Tufts University

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>