San Francisco, Calif.—It is now well recognized that pathogens found in biofilms play a role in many mucosal-based otolaryngologic-related infections, but what that role is and how to prevent or treat biofilms remain unknown, concluded a panel of experts convened here on Sept. 17 at the 2011 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Annual Meeting.
Explore this issue:October 2011
Emphasizing that a great deal of basic research has now shown the presence of biofilms in areas of the body related to otolaryngologic diseases, David Darrow, MD, DDS, a pediatric otolaryngologist at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Va., said that the task now is to translate that research to the clinic. “The question is, does a biofilm cause a clinical disease,” he said.
Although multiple studies have shown that biofilms exist in normal mucosa as well as infected sinuses, and although there are now good tools for detecting biofilms, one of the big unknowns is the point at which a biofilm becomes problematic, according to Joseph K. Han, MD, associate professor and director of allergy, rhinology and endoscopic sinus and skull base surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va.