Periodontitis: LAD-I Periodontitis: Rolling On...and On
Scientists discover why children with a rare primary immunodeficiency condition are predisposed to an extremely aggressive, early-onset form of periodontitis. Read more....
The Impossible Will Take a Little While: Defining a Key Developmental Pathway in the Salivary Gland
Dentin Disorders: The Twists and Turns of Cloning the DSPP Gene
Salivary glands form in large part via a process called branching morphogenesis. NIDCR scientists have now defined several of its key biochemical details. Find out how they did it. more....
Periodontal Disease: Engineering the Future of Care
In the 1950s, soon after NIDCR’s founding, millions of Americans often flipped on their black-and-white tube televisions and watched commercials that warned of a tongue-twisting condition called gingivitis. As the ads warned, gingivitis was step one on the road to chronic gum, or periodontal, disease and tooth loss. more...
NIDCR scientists and colleagues offer the first comprehensive look at normal and disease-causing sequence variations in the DSPP gene. The gene encodes dentin sialophosphoprotein, the major non-collagen protein in the bone-like dentin that forms the inner core of a tooth. In the 1990s, researchers determined that the DSPP gene is frequently altered in families with histories of dominantly inherited dentin malformations. Or, more accurately, they discovered that some family members had alterations in the gene’s protein-encoding regions called exons 2 through 4. Largely missing was an analysis of protein-encoding exon five, a bewilderingly repetitive stretch of sequence that some considered beyond the reach of current cloning and sequencing techniques. But, as reported in Human Mutation
, NIDCR scientists succeeded in cloning exon five, cracking its repetitive genetic code, and gaining truly unexpected insights into the evolutionary biology of the gene and the genetics of inherited dentin malformations. more...Antibody Technique Shows Diagnostic Promise
In the February 1 issue of the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
, a team of NIH researchers report early results with a tremendously sensitive and accurate new diagnostic technique to quantify antibodies in blood and saliva. Known by the acronym LIPS, the technique performed without error in a small validation study involving a well-known antigen that is frequently elevated in people with a rare disorder called Stiff-Person Syndrome. Additional articles will be published in the months ahead for more common autoimmune conditions, ranging from primary Sjögren’s syndrome to type-1 diabetes. The Inside Scoop
spoke to two of the authors to learn more about the technique and its potential. They are NIDCR scientists Dr. Peter Burbelo, lead author on the study, and Dr. Michael Iadarola, the paper’s senior author. more...Research Experience Propels NIDCR Summer Intern to Intel Finals
Benjamin Lu, a 2007 NIH summer intern in NIDCR’s Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Branch,
was a finalist in the recent Intel Science Talent Search (STS). The Intel STS is the most prestigious science competition for high school students in the U.S. Mr. Lu, a senior at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Md., was one of 40 finalists out of more than 1,600 contestants. He was honored for his research on the Drosophila melanogaster
(fruit fly) genome. His research focused on genes that may be involved in the pathway between the Gq-coupled muscarinic receptor type 1 and the AP-1 transcription factor in the nucleus. Such fundamental research could one day illuminate possible targets for cancer therapies. NIDCR recently spoke with Benjamin Lu about his experience as a summer research intern.more...Study May Help Head and Neck Cancer Patients Find Relief From Dry Mouth
By the late 1980s, NIDCR scientist Dr. Bruce Baum was frustrated. He had been searching for new drugs and other treatments that might help restore adequate salivary flow in people whose salivary glands had been damaged by radiation treatment for cancer. Yet, despite all of his hard work, Baum said he had not come close to solving the problem. That's when he decided to turn to gene transfer, sometimes called gene therapy. If a fluid-transporting gene could be transferred into the damaged glands, he could potentially restore some degree of salivary flow and secretion into the mouth. more...Looking to the Future: Systems Biology
Over the past decade, researchers have reported tremendous progress in studying head and neck cancer, an umbrella term for tumors of the mouth, nose, throat, larynx, and salivary glands. Recently, the Inside Scoop sat down with J. Silvio Gutkind, Ph.D., an NIDCR scientist and prominent figure in head and neck cancer research, to discuss systems biology and its likely impact on the field. more...