Treatment, diagnosis and monitoring in periodontal disease
Destruction of the periodontal tissues often results in tooth loss and is a major clinical problem. To improve patient-based diagnosis and evaluation of risk, members of the cluster are trying to identify genetic markers of increased susceptibility to periodontal disease. This is particularly targeted at examining gene polymorphisms in patients with the more severe forms of periodontal disease (Aggressive Periodontitis).
In order to more effectively target treatment, a biosensor is being developed for chair-side use to detect three key protease activities in gingival crevicular fluid, inlcuding human neutrophil elastase, a marker for periodontal inflammation. This work is being conducted in collaboration with Queen Mary College, London.
Concern over the widespread use of antimicrobials and the development of resistant strains has led to the search for alternative approaches to therapy. A multicentre clinical trial of photodynamic therapy is being conducted to determine its efficacy as a treatment for periodontal disease. Photodynamic therapy is based on the generation of reactive radicals from an activator in response to laser light. In addition collaborative work with GSK is investigating new treatments for periodontal pathogens.
A multidisciplinary group (Chemistry, Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, Engineering Materials) is developing a system for detecting infection in several body sites. Stimuli-responsive polymers are being devised with tethered ligands that bind directly to bacteria, or with peptides that can be cleaved by bacterial proteases, to detect the presence of bacteria or their products. This approach has numerous potential clinical applications, including early detection of wound infection.