June 08, 2012
Dr. Debora Matthews of Dalhousie University’s Department of Dental Clinical Sciences is a member of a research team that has been awarded a Team Bone Grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The team, led by Dr. Michael Glogauer of the University of Toronto, was awarded $2.08 million for the study “Identifying Novel Markers of Alveolar Bone Loss: Developing New Diagnostic Approaches for the Most Prevalent Forms of Bone Loss”. The award was one of only three Team Bone grants awarded by CIHR in the competition.
The team will develop new ways of diagnosing periodontal disease in its early stages. Periodontal diseases are diseases that attack the gum and bone tissues around the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause destruction of the gum and bone tissues and may result in tooth loss. Highly prevalent, these diseases can affect up to 80% of North Americans during their lifetime. Currently, diagnosing periodontal disease in the early stages before it progresses to tissue destruction is difficult. The researchers plan to study patients with periodontal disease to look for biomarkers (such as specific types of immune cells and chemical signaling molecules) that can be used to diagnose and/or predict the onset on severe periodontal disease. Such diagnostic tools would allow dentists to provide treatment and counseling earlier in the disease process with the ultimate goal of slowing bone destruction and preventing tooth loss.
Dr. Matthews’ role will be to lead the Knowledge Translation activities for the project. Professors Peggy Maillet and Cara Tax of the Dalhousie School of Dental Hygiene are also collaborators on the grant.