Oral and dental health is the newest disease area within the CRF’s research portfolio. Trials take place in a state-of-the-art dedicated dental research clinic within the £1.7 million Dental Translational and Clinical Research Unit (DenTCRU) co-funded by the Wellcome Trust and the University of Leeds.
We run a mix of commercially and government funded studies including funding from the National Institute for Health and care Research for clinical trials. Our research is also supported by a number of charities, including the Oral and Dental Research Trust and the Dunhill Medical Trust.
Our studies cover the full range of research within oral and dental health, testing drug treatments, medical devices, novel dental materials and surgical procedures. We are embracing innovations in digital dentistry, drawing on the latest scanning and digital techniques to create 3D digital dental archives for use in both diagnostics, treatment planning and restoring function. This includes 3D printing of high quality dental models for faster “dignity denture” production.
DenTCRU CRF supports collection of materials for the Skeletal Tissues Research Bank that supports research to understand the mechanisms of tooth decay, erosion, wear; developing a source of stem cell for tissue regeneration and development of new dental materials that in turn will be evaluated in the DenTCRU CRF.
DenTCRU CRF successfully undertook the first-in-man trials on self-assembling peptides (SAP) based on Professor Jennifer Kirkham’s research carried out at the University of Leeds. The product ‘Curadont Repair’, using this peptide technology, gained CE mark approval for clinical use and is now on the market for use in stimulating repair in teeth showing early signs of decay. We are also working on new atraumatic restorative therapy to assess a novel approach for the prevention of root caries in the elderly.
Next generation sequencing within our laboratory facilities allows us to run studies that involve complex analysis of the oral microbiome – the bacteria within the mouth and how these interact. We are developing trials looking at the use of improved stewardship of antimicrobials with a particular focus on addressing antimicrobial resistance.
We also work on studies which require genetic profiling of patients, such as identifying genetic markers for inherited enamel developmental disorders including Amelogenesis Imperfecta.
Changes in our oral health can provide early signs of systemic disorders, and we are collaborating with Musculoskeletal researchers within NIHR Leeds CRF to identify if gingivitis – inflammation of the gums – is an early marker for rheumatoid arthritis