Biomarker for Caries Risk Assessment

Introduction Although dental caries (tooth decay) is largely preventable, it remains the most common chronic disease of children aged 5 to 17 years. According to the CDC, it is five times more common than asthma. Extensive research indicates that dental caries is the result of a bacterial infection and current research seeks to identify risk factors for caries, as well as to identify natural oral defenses that may protect against or prevent caries development. UW researchers have discovered a correlation between salivary concentrations of a particular antimicrobial peptide and caries prevalence in children, which could lead to new ways to screen for caries susceptibility to assess the risk for this common oral problem. Technology description UW researchers have identified a new and useful biomarker to measure the risk for caries in children, which could be developed into a simple test for clinical evaluation to help dental practitioners advise patients about dental health. The assay is easy to perform and can be done on crude whole saliva, an easily available fluid which can be collected non-invasively. Business opportunity The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) asserts that caries-risk assessment is an essential element of contemporary clinical care for infants, children and adolescents. Over the past 15 years, strategies for managing dental caries increasingly have emphasized the concept of risk assessment. However, a practical tool for assessing caries risk has been lacking. Stage of development In a study of 149 middle school children, initial data has shown that children with caries have a significantly lower concentration of this salivary protein. An antibody-based assay could easily be reduced to practice. Further clinical testing, which is ongoing, will validate the predictive value. Intellectual property position The UW has applied for patent protection to secure the rights to this technology. Related Publications Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2005 Sep;49(9):3883-8. For more information on this technology contact:
Angela Loihl, Ph.D., MBA Technology Manager, Invention Licensing 206-543-3970

Type of Offer: Licensing

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