Prize-winning research aids denture problem

Scientists have scooped a major cash prize for a project set to bring relief to thousands of denture wearers.

According to the most recent adult dental survey, 28% of the UK population wears dentures, and a quarter of these are likely to develop denture stomatitis or fungal induced stomatitis (mainly Candida albicans), commonly known as oral thrush.

This is a significant problem for denture wearers and is seemingly on the increase.

Now a team of scientists from the University of Liverpool has won the £25,000 Armourers & Brasiers Venture Prize.

The prize is awarded annually in the form of an investment and the money will enable the project to proceed to clinical evaluation and kickstart the project commercially.

The team is led by senior lecturer and material scientist, Dr Rachel Williams, and senior lecturer in oral surgery, Dr Luke Dawson.

The project’s idea is based on a cost-effective nanoparticle silica coating which inhibits the adhesion and proliferation of cells and micro-organisms.

Laboratory tests show that the coating can inhibit the build-up of virulent oral thrush (Candida albicans).

Using proof of concept (POC) funds, awarded by the university technology transfer company, Ulive, the team has developed a transparent solution containing the nanoparticles with adhesive patches on each particle which promote attachment to the denture.

This solution can be used by denture wearers as part of their normal cleaning procedure and provides a renewable, tasteless nanoparticulate coating on the dentures which will prevent oral thrush infections.

The Liverpool University team comprises Dr Rachel Williams (lead; School of Clinical Sciences), Dr Luke Dawson (School of Dental Sciences), colloid scientist Dr. Mike Garvey (Department of Physics), microbiologist Dr. Heather Allison (School of Biological Sciences) and business manager Dr. Gillian Murray (Ulive Enterprises).

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