Six years supporting Innovation in Oral Care Awards
MIAMI, FL, USA: “This is our sixth year supporting the International Association for Dental Research’s Innovation in Oral Care Awards, said Stan Lech, vice president for Global Research & Development for GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, who explained that it is IADR who picks the winners for their outstanding service to dentistry.
“The research may or may not have a direct application to our products,” but encompasses “our mission of improving health care globally.” GSK Consumer Healthcare manufactures products such as Aquafresh, Sensodyne, Polident and PoliGrip.
Lech said the IADR General Session has become more international. “I see a lot of young students from different countries,” he said. “The level of science continues to ramp up, because of the Web, clinical trials databases, there’s a lot more information in the public domain. People are doing research in a more smart way. The science is being done for the good of science, instead of companies talking about the commercial aspects of healthcare.”
The chief scientist for GSK said that at the end of the day, the science speaks for itself. “At GSK we believe that when you deal with experts you deal with science based on facts,” he explained, “and that would compel people to buy your products. If all that falls into place from a commercial point of view, then you have a product that is respected because it’s based in science.”
The GSK VP said that he worries about the focus of dentistry in general, which may overlook the aging population or not place enough support to globally link dental schools to understand the dental practice since practices are very different across the world.
“How do we drive the science and knowledge into practical dentistry?” he asked. “I’m hoping that through the right pitch of the curriculum dentists would follow key practices. But there will be always a gap between academia and practicing dentists.”
The Innovation Awards
GSK Consumer Healthcare has contributed nearly US$1.4 million to the prestigious Innovation in Oral Care Awards, which recognize research in innovative oral care technologies that may maintain and improve oral health and the quality of life. Each of the three 2009 winners receive a $75,000 unrestricted research grant. The 2009 winners are:
• Eric Reynolds, The University of Melbourne School of Dental Science, Australia, for “Development of Oxantel to Prevent Periodontopathogenic Biofilm Formation.” Oxantel is already approved for use in humans at relatively high concentrations as a treatment for intestinal parasites. Reynolds and his team have patented its use for the treatment of periodontal diseases.
• Rena D’Souza, Baylor College of Dentistry, Texas A&M Health Science Center in Dallas, for “Nanostructured Peptide Hydrogels and Stem Cells for Dentin-Pulp Complex Regeneration.” This research will develop novel peptide-based hydrogels as scaffolds to promote the differentiation of adult stem cells and the formation of dentin and pulp tissues. This endodontic therapy offers an important alternative for individuals in a clinical situation with an otherwise poor prognosis.
• Sandra Bordin, The University of Washington School of Dentistry, Seattle, for “Optical Coherence Tomography for Non-invasive Diagnosis of Periodontal Disorders.” This plans to develop miniature, high-resolution Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) imaging needle devices to guide biopsies and monitoring treatment response in oral conditions, thus reducing costs of healthcare.
The IADR/GSK Innovation in Oral Care Awards received 28 applications from researchers from around the globe. Each application was reviewed by a panel of experts under the chairmanship of Dr Mariano Sanz, Dean of the Dental School at Universidad Complutense of Madrid, Spain.