Dr Nick Jakubovics in Dental Sciences hit the National press last week, with reports on his biofilm-busting fight against dental disease. His Radio 4 Today programme interview with John Humphreys can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18686179Nick leads a group which is developing a new approach for combating dental plaque using an enzyme from a microbe on the surface of seaweed. The enzyme was identified in a screen for compounds that could disperse microbes from the surfaces of ships’ hulls. However, it soon became apparent that such an enzyme could have major benefits to human health, for example by clearing dental plaque from the surface of teeth. Initial laboratory tests have proved very promising, and the new agent is able to effectively clear micro-organisms from surfaces in simple models of dental plaque. The enzyme works by breaking down a component of the sticky matrix that holds dental plaque to the surface of teeth. This can dislodge dental plaque, and potentially could also improve the penetration of antimicrobial agents into the deeper layers of plaque. Ultimately, it is hoped that the new enzyme may be incorporated into oral hygiene products such as toothpastes, mouthwashes or denture cleansers. The team is now looking for commercial partners to take this development forward. The work was presented at the Society for Applied Microbiology summer conference in Edinburgh.
The images shows Nick (right), with Professor Grant Burgess from Marine Biotechnology, and a plaque-contaminated denture. No prizes for recognising which side of the denture was treated with the plaque-busting enzyme.
To find out more in our press release: Tooth Protection from the Sea
published on: 9th July 2012