Periodontitis, a gum disease present in nearly half of all adults in the United States, involves inflammation, bleeding and bone loss. In its severe form, it is associated with systemic inflammatory conditions such as atherosclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Few treatment options exist beyond dental scaling and root planing, done in an attempt to reduce plaque and inflammation.
Now, with findings from a study led by University of Pennsylvania researchers, there is new hope that the disease can be effectively reversed.
The work, which appears in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, employed an inhibitor of a protein called C3, a component of the body’s complement system, which is involved in immunity and inflammatory responses. Delivering this inhibitor, Cp40, to the periodontal tissue just once a week reversed naturally occurring chronic periodontitis inflammation in a preclinical model.
George Hajishengallis, Thomas W. Evans Centennial Professor inPenn’s School of Dental Medicine’s Department of Biology, and John D. Lambris, Dr. Ralph and Sallie Weaver Professor of Research Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, were co-senior authors on the study, the result of years of collaboration.
“Even after one treatment, you could see a big difference in inflammation,” said Hajishengallis. “After six weeks, we saw reversals in inflammation, both clinically and by looking at cellular and molecular measures of osteoclast formation and inflammatory cytokines.”
“The results were so clean, so impressive,” Lambris said. “The next step is to pursue Phase 1 trials in humans.”
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