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Forsyth issues imperative for a vaccine against cavities

Boston--Researchers at The Forsyth Institute have made significant advances in research to develop a vaccine against cavities. The research team of Martin Taubman, DDS, PhD and Daniel J. Smith PhD, has discovered key molecules that can stimulate a human immune response and has successfully conducted immunization trials in animal models. The global epidemic of dental caries (cavities) highlights the growing imperative to develop a vaccine to prevent cavities.

Dental caries is an infectious disease that occurs when microorganisms accumulate on the teeth, especially in the presence of sucrose (sugar), says Taubman, head of the Department of Immunology at Forsyth. "Oral health is a critical component of general health and well-being," said Dr. Taubman. "Unfortunately, dental caries remains a chronic problem that is not only widespread in the industrialized world, but is also increasing in prevalence in developing nations. We have a real opportunity to address this public health crisis, and to improve quality of life, while preventing long-term health problems."

A full report of the scientific and public health imperative for a vaccine against dental caries will be published in the July 2006 issue of Nature Reviews Immunology. (Available online at http://www.nature.com/nri/index.html on May 25.)

"Many people are fortunate enough to never experience the devastating effects of severe dental caries," said Phil Stashenko, Vice President of Research for The Forsyth Institute. "However, even here in the U.S. dental caries is the most common childhood disease."

Why A Vaccine is Needed
Worldwide, 5 billion people suffer from tooth decay. The World Oral Health Report 2003, published by the WHO, indicates that dental caries is a major health problem in most industrialized countries, affecting 60-90% of school children and most adults. In the United States, dental caries remains t
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Contact: Jennifer Kelly
jkelly@forsyth.org
617-892-8602
Forsyth Institute
25-May-2006


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