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Better dentistry through Selenium

Dr Ted Reid and Dr Julian Spallholz, Co-Chief Scientists. (DTI/Photo Selenium Ltd.)
John Hoffman, DTA

John Hoffman, DTA

Wed. 30 January 2008


NEW YORK, NY, USA: Selenium Ltd., a biopharmaceutical company based in Lubbock, Texas, founded in 2004 out of research from Texas Tech University, is using selenium-based chemistry to advance dentistry and dental hygiene. The company specializes in antimicrobial and non-fouling formulations for dental, medical, and ophthalmic applications and is developing antimicrobial coatings for dental water line tubing.

Selenium Ltd. has entered into a co-development agreement with Class One Orthodontics, also of Lubbock, to create antimicrobial coatings for dental brackets, and is also working with Auxano Biologics on coated bandages that prevent the build-up of unwanted bacteria in wounds.

“The underlying technology developed and owned by Selenium Ltd. is a biochemical formulation of the element selenium that can be incorporated into coatings, paints, and other surfaces,” chief scientists Dr Ted Reid and Dr Julian Spallholz explain.

“Selenium is a safe and natural nutrient and has the intrinsic property of catalyzing short-lived free radicals to destroy nearby bacterial cells. This property is ideal for creating surfaces that thwart bacterial attachment. Dental water supply antibacterial products are typically additives that must be dissolved into the water and may be consumed by the patient. However, most bacterial growth occurs at surface interfaces, and so organo-selenium adducts represent an antimicrobial surface on water line reservoirs or supply hoses which can inhibit bacteria growth without introducing additives into the water.”

Selenium Ltd. has received US$140,000 and plans to use this funding over the next year to provide a basic proof of concept of using selenium-coated antimicrobial materials for dental water systems.

“We are working with Class One Orthodontics to create antimicrobial orthodontics that prevent bacteria formation and plaque buildup,” Reid and Spallholz note. “Additionally, we are working on tooth coatings and varnishes that prevent plaque build-up. Bacterial formation can impede tooth movement during orthodontic treatment and can often lead to periodontal tissue breakdown and tooth decalcification.”

They foresee their SeLECT technology being incorporated into basic orthodontic items such as brackets, archwires, molar bands, adhesive materials, and other devices to prevent the
formation of plaque on or around the bracket area.

Selenium is looking to outlicense or sell its intellectual property and related assets. In addition to orthodontic applications and clean dental water lines, Reid and Spallholz say Selenium’s technology may also prove applicable as a dental varnish to be applied monthly or yearly to prevent plaque formation.

Selenium is a partner to Texas Tech University, and Reid and Spallholz remain on the school’s faculty.

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