‘Smart bomb’ mouthwash targets tooth decay

A new mouthwash has been developed by a microbiologist which targets the harmful Streptococcus mutans bacteria – the main cause of tooth decay and cavities.

In a recent clinical study, 12 subjects who rinsed just one time with the experimental mouthwash experienced a nearly complete elimination of the S. mutans bacteria over the entire four-day testing period.

The findings from the small-scale study at the UCLA School of Dentistry is published in the current edition of the international dental journal, Caries Research.

This new mouthwash is the product of nearly a decade of research conducted by Dr Wenyuan Shi, chair of the oral biology section at the UCLA School of Dentistry. 

Dr Shi was responsible for a sugarfree lollipop that actively fights tooth decay which was recently hailed a hit by a study in the US.

He developed this new antimicrobial technology called STAMP (specifically targeted anti-microbial peptides) with support from Colgate-Palmolive and from C3-Jian Inc., a company he founded around patent rights he developed at UCLA; the patents were exclusively licensed by UCLA to C3-Jian. The mouthwash uses a STAMP known as C16G2.

Shi’s Sm STAMP C16G2 investigational drug, tested in the clinical study, acts as a sort of ‘smart bomb’, eliminating only the harmful bacteria and remaining effective for an extended period.

Based on the success of this limited clinical trial, C3-Jian Inc. has filed a New Investigational Drug application with the US Food and Drug Administration, which is expected to begin more extensive clinical trials in March 2012.

If the FDA ultimately approves Sm STAMP C16G2 for general use, it will be the first such anti-dental caries drug since fluoride was licensed nearly 60 years ago.

Dr Shi, who noted that this work may lay the foundation for developing additional target-specific ‘smart bomb’ antimicrobials to combat other diseases.

He said: ‘With this new antimicrobial technology, we have the prospect of actually wiping out tooth decay in our lifetime.’

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