Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is an inflammation of the nasal sinuses, and is one of the most common medical complaints in North America, affecting up to 16% of the population. It leads to around 24 million physician visits per year, with an aggregated cost of more than $6 billion. Although the pathophysiology behind CRS isn’t fully understood, it appears to be largely triggered by bacterial biofilm infections. The microbes associated with these biofilms are diverse, and treatment options (including antibiotics) are limited and often fail to cure the disease.
Dr. Hancock will develop a novel topical intranasal treatment for CRS, based on anti-biofilm peptides. These peptides have already been shown to kill multiple species of bacteria in biofilms, especially the most resistant pathogens. Dr. Hancock has screened a library of peptides for their efficacy against multiple bacterial species, including several significant CRS pathogens.
Dr. Hancock will select a lead and backup anti-biofilm peptide with the most efficacy against sinusitis bacteria in their biofilm state, minimal toxicity when provided topically, and with optimal anti-inflammatory properties both in vitro and in animal models.
This research could directly lead to a new therapy for CRS, which would trigger immediate clinical and commercial development. Dr. Hancock has brought on partners for the first two years—Dr. Armin Javer of the St. Paul’s Sinus Clinic, and the Centre for Drug Research and Development, and has already identified a prospective development partner, Victoria-based company ABT Innovations Inc.