Bulletin of Dental Education

Around the Dental Education Community - April 2011

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International Dentists Program at LLU Celebrates Milestone

Photo courtesy Loma Linda University School of DentistryThe International Dentist Program (IDP) at the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (LLUSD) achieved its 25th anniversary this year—a milestone that was celebrated during the School of Dentistry’s 51st Alumni Student Convention.

Beginning in 1985 with three students, the program now boasts 25 students per class. Since its inception the program has aided 374 dentists from 78 countries in receiving U.S. licenses. “These men and women have represented their alma mater well,” said Dean Charles J. Goodacre, D.D.S., M.S.D.

In the early 1980s, then LLUSD Dean Judson Klooster, D.D.S., along with Lloyd Baum, D.D.S., and Thor Bakland, D.D.S., recognized the need to offer foreign-trained dentists an opportunity to update their clinical skills and earn D.D.S. degrees. The school’s IDP was the second in the state of California at the time of its inception. In the ensuring years, the program grew under the leadership of four subsequent directors: Bruce Pence, D.D.S.; B. Daniel Hall, D.D.S.; Michael Fitzpatrick, D.D.S.; and Gregory D. Mitchell, D.D.S.

The IDP allows qualified dentists educated in countries outside of the United States to earn a doctor of dental surgery (D.D.S.) degree in the United States. It consists of accelerated and intensive training in dental techniques used in the United States. A requirement for dental licensure examinations in many states includes a D.D.S. degree from a U.S. dental institution.

Researchers Connect a Specific Protein to Head and Neck Cancers

The discovery that a certain protein is over-expressed in patients with oral cancer may give new treatment hope to people suffering from particularly aggressive, localized forms of head and neck cancer.

Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry found that when they inhibited the expression of that protein, called SIRT3 or Sirtuin-3, in oral cancer cells in a petri dish, the cells did not proliferate and more of them died. Further, when researchers suppressed the protein in the cancer cells and combined that with radiation or chemotherapy treatment, the prohibitive effect on cancer cells was even greater, said Yvonne L. Kapila, D.D.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor and lead author of the study.

Mice that were injected with SIRT3-inhibited oral cancer cells had about a 75% reduction in tumors compared to the mice injected with regular oral cancer cells, said Dr. Kapila, whose research team began looking at the Sirtuin group of proteins because some studies suggest they are key regulators for cell integrity and survival.

"We thought that maybe cancer cells, because they are very crafty, may also use one of these proteins to their advantage to extend their own survival," Dr. Kapila said. "With oral cancer, often the problem is the difficulty of early detection, thus when diagnosed at a late stage the cancer becomes very aggressive. If one can find a way to tailor treatments to those aggressive situations obviously you have a far better case of survival."

She added that oral cancer survival rates haven't changed in decades, so there's a great desire in the scientific community to find more effective treatments. Oral cancer is the eighth most common cancer worldwide, and oral squamous cell carcinoma accounts for 90% of all malignancies. The five-year survival rate for patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma is 34% to 62.9%, according to the study.

Dr. Kapila said some research has shown that SIRT1 and SIRT3 proteins may suppress, rather than support, tumor growth, so it's important to remember that each case is different.

"If people do find that in breast cancer it's a suppressor and we go in and treat patients with an additional suppression of SIRT3, we may do more harm than good," Kapila said.

Dr. Kapila stressed that the results are very preliminary. The next step is to look at the SIRT3 in larger animals and then proceed to human trials. "This is very much still in the lab," she said. "We are nowhere near having any kind of treatment at this point."

Henry Schein, Inc. Establishes Humanitarian Relief Fund  

Henry Schein, Inc. has established the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund in response to the tragic earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan March 11, 2011.

“Along with the rest of the world, we are deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and hope for a good outcome for the missing people and those dislocated by this terrible tragedy, " said Mr. Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Henry Schein, Inc.

"In addition to our efforts through the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund, Henry Schein Cares is working closely with our partner NGOs to seek opportunities to support humanitarian relief efforts. As always, we stand ready to do our part."

The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund, established through the Henry Schein Cares Foundation—a 501(c)(3) organization—provides a way for Team Schein Members and others who are interested in providing support to contribute. Henry Schein will match donations contributed to this fund by Team Schein Members, and the proceeds will be applied directly to relief efforts.

To aid in the response to emergencies around the world, Henry Schein Cares, the company's global social responsibility program, partners with international relief organizations and helps ensure that these organizations consistently have Henry Schein health care products in their warehouses ready to go when disasters strike.

For more information or to contribute, visit www.hscaresfoundation.org.

UTDB Student Named American Student Dental Association’s New President  

Mr. Adam Shisler; courtesy University of Texas Dental Branch at HoustonThird-year dental student Mr. Adam Shisler of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Dental Branch (UTDB) has been elected National President of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA), becoming the first UTDB student to hold that post. He was elected in March 2011 at the ASDA Annual Session in Anaheim, California.

Mr. Shisler is an experienced ASDA member, having served as Class Delegate, Vice President, Texas Dental Association Delegate, District Trustee, and President of the Dental Branch chapter. His one-year term as President began immediately and will be followed by a year in an advisory role as Immediate Past President.

As the national President, Shisler will be the official voice of the ASDA’s 17,000 members to organizations such as the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), American Dental Association (ADA), European Dental Student Association, Academy of General Dentistry, specialty organizations, and governmental agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

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