Genetic test to help predict gum disease

One of the largest clinical studies using genetic testing to assess the risk of gum disease will be conducted by the University of Michigan, in agreement with Interleukin Genetics Inc.
William Giannobile, professor at University of Michigan dentistry and director of the Michigan Center for Oral Health Research at the School of Dentistry, will lead the study.
‘It’s an exciting study because it’s a way to use genetic testing to personalise a dental treatment plan and the frequency of dental care visits of patients as it relates to oral care,’ said Giannobile. ‘It’s a way to customise patient care.’
The study will use Interleukin’s PST test as one part of a periodontitis risk assessment. President and chief scientific officer of Interleukin, Kenneth Kornman, said: ‘One of the goals of personalised health care is to detect disease earlier and prevent it more effectively.’
University of Michigan scientists will examine 15 years of patient clinical outcome data provided by a Michigan-based insurance company. Scientists will then recruit at least 4,000 of those patients and get their genetic information using the PST.
They will combine this genetic information with smoking and diabetes, then measure tooth survival rates to see how those results line up with the treatment plans people received over the 15 years. Some patients may have needed more dental visits, some may have required less.
Research has shown that genetics plays a large role in gum disease, and suggests that severe gum disease is a risk factor for other chronic disease complications such as heart disease or low birth weight.
The PST genetic test works by identifying genetic variations that are predictive of severe gum disease and tooth loss in some patients. The test may be used on all ethnic populations and must only be given once in a lifetime to identify at-risk patients. Specifically, the test identifies genetic variants that regulate a protein that when overexpressed, is thought to be associated with destruction of soft tissue attachment and bone and increased severity of gum disease in certain patients.

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