Paranasal Sinuses, Nasal Disease and Wound Healing

Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), the most common chronic disease in the United States, is the major target of the nose and paranasal sinus research. By better elucidating the causative agents at the most basic levels, we hope to bring the first FDA approved treatment to patients within 5 years. Interdepartmental cooperation with Pathology, Mycology, Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonary Medicine has led to significant success scientifically. This has been rewarded with great interest from the lay press and the public. We continue to gather information in the area of CRS to help advance the treatment these patients are given.

Wound healing research has focused on the fibroblast and myofibroblast and their roles in scar formation. An in vitro model of wound healing is under development, which may lead to better understanding of hypertrophic scarring and keloid formation. In other animal studies, we have discovered that botulinum toxin A can be used to improve the cosmetic appearance of scars. If the musculature around a wound is temporarily paralyzed, the resultant scar is less apparent. This finding has wide possible clinic applications in skin, bone, and cartilage healing where the unfavorable movement of local musculature may result in a poor healing result. This initiative has also resulted in a new formulation of botulinum toxin A, with proven safety and efficacy in humans. Future directions of this research include blinded randomized placebo controlled drug trials on patients with cutaneous wounds, and further animal studies. We are working on collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry at present.

Other studies of wound healing in the department in the past, present, and future have focused on subjects as diverse as the biomechanics of the nose, tissue engineering for reconstruction, and implants for the use in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Many of these projects can be addressed with very low cost focused studies. Our research success includes multiple research awards and continuous publication. Areas of past and future collaboration exist with colleagues in Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Orthopedics, Neurology, and other basic sciences.