WebMD Medical News
Louise Chang, MD
March 23, 2007 -- Inventors of a new nasal spray designed to help prevent
ear infections in children report promising results in lab tests on mice.
Those tests show the spray, which doesn't have a name yet, was 100%
effective in preventing ear infections in mice exposed to pneumonia bacteria
and the flu virus. Testing has not yet been done on humans.
The spray's developers include Jonathan McCullers, MD, of St. Jude
Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and Vincent Fischetti, PhD, of
the bacterial pathogenesis lab at New York's Rockefeller University.
The researchers exposed mice to a bacterium called Streptococcus
pneumoniae. About half of all children carry that bacterium, the
One week later, the scientists gave half the mice the experimental nasal
spray, which contains a protein called lysin (different from lysine
supplements) that attacks the bacteria. The rest of the mice received a placebo
nasal spray containing no lysin or other medicine.
Then the mice were exposed to a flu virus four hours
after treatment with either the experimental or placebo nasal sprays.
None of the mice that had gotten the experimental spray developed ear
infections. But ear infections developed in 80% of the mice that had gotten the
Children and adults can now be vaccinated against S. pneumoniae,
which helps reduce the number of infections that occur from the bacteria, such
as ear infections and pneumonia.
The findings appear in Public Library of Science Pathogens.
Rockefeller University recently licensed the lysin technology rights to a
company called Enzybiotics Inc. Fischetti leads the company's scientific
advisory board, notes a Rockefeller University news release.
SOURCES: McCullers, J. Public Library of Science Pathogens, March
2007. News release, The Rockefeller University. News release, St. Jude
Children's Research Hospital.
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