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Dentistry in the News - March 2012

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Patient Texting Study to Promote Oral Health

CellTrust is working with the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health (ASDOH) to launch a text messaging study intended to improve patient oral health compliance. For the Text2Floss pilot study, CellTrust and ASDOH researchers will devise a series of text message programs designed to reach and educate current patients and the underserved. It will also promote preventive and ongoing health and wellness initiatives.

The project was founded by Tony Hashemian, D.D.S., Assistant Dean of Global Oral Health at ASDOH, who feels there is a need for health organizations to have the ability to use short message service (SMS) text messaging as a HIPAA-compliant communications tool.

The organizations believe that by directly providing physicians and clinicians with required patient information to make informed decisions, a secure SMS solution will improve the quality of healthcare with decreased response times and accurate decision-making, allowing for quicker interventions and improved patient outcome.

Anthocyanins, Powerful Antioxidants in Black Raspberries Found to Fight Cancer

Dr. Susan Mallery, a Professor at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and an Oral Pathology Consultant at The Ohio State University and James Cancer hospitals, has dedicated nearly 30 years to studying new strategies for preventing oral cancer. Treatment for oral cancer relies on excising cells before they turn cancerous.

"While not all oral lesions progress to cancer, we cannot accurately predict which will be the ‘bad actors.’ This often results in multiple surgeries and high anxiety in both our patients and clinicians,” says Dr. Mallery.

Since 2003, Dr. Mallery has been investigating a variety of agents to identify new therapeutics that can suppress the conversion of pre-cancerous to cancerous cells. Her first breakthrough was the creation of an oral gel based on anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants found in black raspberries. Study results showed that the gel, when applied to the mouth, would suppress genes associated with functions that allow cancerous cells to grow, thus diminishing the risk for recurring lesions.

In 2009, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, in collaboration with the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) awarded Dr. Mallery and her team funding for a project aimed at developing a way to treat precancerous lesions directly in the mouth and preventing recurring lesions. Dr. Mallery partnered with two pharmaceutical chemists from the University of Michigan, Drs. Stephen Schwendeman and Kashappa Goud Desai, along with two Ohio State investigators Drs. Gary Stoner and Peter Larsen to develop a first of its kind patch that could stick to the inside of the mouth, and deliver a continuous therapeutic dose of fenretinide directly on the lesion.

The research team plans to move the patch into pre-clinical and clinical trials, and is already looking at a combination of fenretinide and anthocyanins, as well as testing a combination therapy using the patch and black raspberry-based gel mouthwash to prevent recurrence of lesions.

“If we can effectively treat the lesions with the patch, and then prevent more from coming back, we will completely change – and improve upon – the way oral cancer is currently treated,” says Dr. Mallery.

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