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Photodynamic therapy of antibiotic-resistant biofilms in a maxillary sinus model


  • Funding sources for the study: NIH/NIAID, MAB R43 AI094706.

  • Potential conflict of interest: MAB: Chief Scientific Officer, PhotoBiologix; consultant, Sinuwave, Inc.; stockholder, PhotoBiologix and Sinuwave Inc. NL: stockholder, Sinuwave, Inc. LP and AG: no financial disclosures.

Correspondence to: Merrill A. Biel, MD, PhD, 2929 University Avenue SE, Suite 108, Minneapolis, MN 55414; e-mail:



Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States. There is a significant subpopulation of CRS patients who remain resistant to cure despite rigorous treatment regimens including surgery, allergy therapy, and prolonged antibiotic therapy. Antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (aPDT) is a noninvasive nonantibiotic broad spectrum antimicrobial treatment. Our previous in vitro studies demonstrated that aPDT reduced CRS polymicrobial planktonic bacteria and fungi by >99.9% after a single treatment. However, prior to human treatment, the effectiveness of aPDT to eradicate polymicrobial biofilms in a maxillary sinus cavity must be demonstrated. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the effectiveness of a noninvasive aPDT treatment of antibiotic resistant biofilms known to cause CRS in a novel anatomically correct maxillary sinus in vitro model using an enhanced photosensitizer solution.


Antibiotic resistant polymicrobial biofilms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) were grown in an anatomically correct novel maxillary sinus model and treated with a methylene blue/ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) photosensitizer and 670-nm nonthermal activating light. Cultures of the biofilms were obtained before and after light treatment to determine efficacy of biofilm reduction.


The in vitro maxillary sinus CRS biofilm study demonstrated that aPDT reduced the CRS polymicrobial biofilm by >99.99% after a single treatment.


aPDT can effectively treat CRS polymicrobial antibiotic resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa and MRSA biofilms in a maxillary sinus cavity model.

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