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Dornase Alfa to improve surgical outcomes


Dissolving the glue in glue ear: Assessment of the use of Dornase alfa as an adjunct therapy to ventilation tube insertion and to improve CSOM tympanoplasty outcomes. (PMH Foundation. CTN2011/0635, CIA Richmond).

We have shown that the bacterial biofilm in middle ear effusions of children with chronic and recurrent otitis media (OM) contains DNA scaffolding derived from host neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). The DNA scaffold containing biofilm can be broken down in-vitro with a licensed treatment for patients with cystic fibrosis, Dornase alfa (Pulmozyme®). We believe that this will lower the rate of infection recurrence and need for repeat surgery (~30%) and may provide an adjunct therapy for chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM) where biofilm has also been demonstrated.

This trial is a proof of principle study to measure the impact of Dornase alfa during ventilation tube insertion on recurrence of infection, persistence of effusions and hearing loss and need for subsequent surgery. Sixty children undergoing surgery for CSOM are randomised to have one ear treated with the Dornase alfa and the other with normal saline. Infection rates, complications and repeat ventilation tube insertion are compared over 24 months.

Dornase alfa represents one of the most promising, innovative therapies for this previously intractable condition. Australia should be a world leader in this novel therapy.

For researchers

Otitis Media (OM), sometimes known as glue ear or runny ears…

For health practitioners

Otitis Media (OM), sometimes known as glue ear or runny ears…

For families and communities

Many Indigenous children, and almost all Indigenous children living in remote communities...