Pioneering research to address chronic periodontitis has been awarded the Australian Dental Industry Association Research Grant bestowed by the Australian Dental Research Foundation (ADRF), the nation’s leading funding body for early-career researchers into dental and oral health issues. The grant is funded by the Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA), the peak business organization representing innovative dental product manufacturers and suppliers.
The most recent award was provided to Associate Professor Neil O’Brien-Simpson from the University of Melbourne Dental School into research associated with antimicrobial peptides that target periodontal pathogens. He’s a project manager for the Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre. The research project will be supported by Dr. Jason Lenzo and Dr. James Holden, both from the Melbourne Dental School.
The research seeks to address chronic periodontitis, an inflammatory disease associated with a pathogenic subgingival bacteria leading to the destruction of the tooth’s supporting tissues and ultimately tooth loss. It is a major public health problem in all societies and is estimated to affect at least 30% of the adult population, including 5% to 6% who experience severe forms of the disease. The prevention of chronic periodontitis relies on removing the bacterial burden by effective tooth cleaning, sometimes in combination with antibiotics and / or antiseptics; however, long-term use of antibiotics is undesirable due to the emergence of resistant bacteria. Indeed, several reports have highlighted an increasing trend towards antibiotic resistance in oral bacteria.
The increasing reports of multi-drug and antibiotic resistant bacteria and the limits on the use of antiseptics, such as chlorhexidine, have resulted in extensive research to discover and develop new and novel classes of antimicrobials that are effective and safe for human use.
“The objectives of the research align with the conditions of the Australian Dental Industry Association Research Grant that provides funding for projects that may, following commercialization, support the development of new and / or innovative dental and oral healthcare treatment pathways or products,” said Troy Williams, ADIA Chief Executive Officer.
The Australian Dental Industry Association Research Grant provides funding to explore the potential of a novel class of antibiotics called antimicrobial peptides (AMP). The research team have already identified several AMPs by altering their sequence and adding chemical moieties that reduce toxicity to mammalian cells while targeting and enhancing antibacterial activity towards periodontal pathogens.
“ADIA has a long track-record of supporting the development of innovative patient diagnostic and treatment options and it's in this context that we’re committed to the long-term funding of the Australian Dental Industry Association Research Grant is funded,” Mr Williams said.