Bulletin of Dental Education

Dentistry in the News - August 2012

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Interleukin Receives Funding from Delta Dental

Interleukin Genetics, Inc. in Waltham, Massachusetts, has received $3 million in financing through Delta Dental Plan of Michigan Inc. for a genetic test that it is developing to classify patients by their susceptibility to periodontal disease, says CEO Lewis H. Bender, M.S., M.A., M.B.A. The 16-employee company develops genetic testing for certain chronic conditions, including its PST periodontal disease test. Mr. Bender told Mass High Tech that the test is to replace the current standard of twice-per-year teeth cleanings with a model that would reduce cleanings to once per year for patients with low risk, and increasing the frequency to three or four per year for those at high risk. The change would save money for insurers as well as improve care for patients, according to Mr. Bender.  

Delta Dental has provided 15 years of data on patients who have agreed to take part in the study and have provided genetic data. The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is analyzing the data for Interleukin to determine how effective the test is at predicting a patients’ risk of periodontal disease, and whether twice-per-year teeth cleanings provide any benefit for those at low risk. Mr. Bender says that he is expecting results of that analysis shortly. “If the data demonstrates that low-risk patients do not benefit from the second cleaning, that’s big news. If it demonstrates that high-risk patients would benefit from three or four cleanings a year, that’s big news. If it demonstrates (neither of those), that’s big news, too, but in a non-positive way,” he says.

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