Treatment of ‘glue ear’ biofilms with modified-release pellets delivering antibiotics and mucolytics

Chief investigator

Study team

Mr Mat Daniel
Dr Heather Fortnum (Retired)

Professor Kevin Shakesheff (University of Nottingham)
Mike Mulheran (University of Leicester)


NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRU programme

Study period


Otitis Media with Effusion (OME) is a common cause of hearing impairment in children, characterised by the presence of fluid in the middle ear which is caused by persistent bacterial biofilm infection. The common surgical treatment with small tubes (grommets) merely removes the fluid, but does not address the underlying infection, and over a quarter of children have to have grommet surgery more than once. Our goal is therefore to reduce the recurrence of OME requiring repeat grommet insertion by developing novel treatment strategies. 

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We are evaluating a novel way of delivering antibiotics directly to the middle ear. Our current work specifically investigates biodegradable slow-release antimicrobial biomaterials as a novel treatment for OME. This is an interdisciplinary collaboration with the University of Nottingham's Division of Otorhinolaryngology, the Biomaterials-related Infection Group at the Division of Orthopaedic and Accident Surgery in the School of Clinical Sciences and the Division of Drug Delivery and Tissue Engineering in the School of Pharmacy. We hope to develop an effective antibiotic delivery system to the middle ear such that it can be used in a clinical trial to assess its effectiveness in reducing recurrence of OME.

Our findings are published in Belfield et al. (in press), Belfield et al. (2015), Qureishi et al. (2014).

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