Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Pete Chandrangsu

Reader 2

Marion Preest

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Cleft lip and palate (CLP) is a medical condition where children are born with an unfused lip and palate. While surgery is required to fuse the lip and palate, there are other conditions that children with CLP face after surgeries, such as otitis media (OM), speech impediments, and difficulty breathing. Particularly, OM occurs frequently in individuals with CLP because the tensor veli palatini muscles cannot open the Eustachian tube frequently and ventilate the middle ear properly, even after surgery. This thesis is a research proposal to evaluate whether γ-PGA can be used in nasal washes to safely prevent nasopharyngeal infections like OM from occurring among children with CLP. γ-PGA, derived from Bacillus anthracis, has been shown to have non-toxic, lubricative, and antimicrobial properties. The biopolymer will be assessed for its cytotoxicity and viability with L929 mouse fibroblast cell cultures and its bactericidal effects on four pathogenic bacteria: Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Streptococcus pneumoniae. A double-blind randomized clinical study will also be performed to analyze the effects of γ-PGA among 400 children with CLP (6 - 12 years old). A significant effect of γ-PGA on preventing infections and illnesses in these children is expected. The in-vitro studies will reveal that γ-PGA is not cytotoxic and is bactericidal against the four bacteria. By creating a nasal wash that is more effective in killing bacteria compared to saline washes but also non-toxic unlike Chlorhexidine and Listerine, γ-PGA can prevent harmful nasopharyngeal infections among those with CLP.