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Personalized Medicine: A New Approach to Treat Periodontal Diseases

Periodontal disease, where bacterial infection of the gums causes chronic inflammation that can eventually lead to tooth loss, affects nearly 50% of the US population. Making this disease particularly challenging to treat is the fact that the bacteria adhere to tooth surfaces in a biofilm state, where the cells are enmeshed in a sticky extracellular material that makes them more resistant to antibiotic treatment. While mechanical scrapping below the gum line helps remove biofilm from the surface of teeth, in some cases the subsequent use of systemic antibiotics to kill off residual bacteria is warranted. The problem, however, is that the there are >500 bacterial species in the oral cavity and the prescription of antibiotics for periodontal disease is largely a trial-and-error process. Dentists simply don’t know, a priori, which antibiotic(s) will be most efficacious for a specific patient, and in some cases choosing the wrong antibiotic can actually stimulate biofilm growth. Microbiologist Dr. Alex Mira and his colleagues at the FISABIO Institute (Valencia, Spain) are taking the guesswork out of this process by using the xCELLigence technology from ACEA Biosciences, now part of Agilent Technologies.

Dr. Mira’s clinical research involves collecting a sample of a patient’s oral biofilm, and growing it within a specialized electronic microtiter plate in the presence or absence of different antibiotics. The ability of each antibiotic to suppress growth of the mixed species bacterial biofilm is quantified in real-time using an xCELLigence instrument. Dr. Mira’s team has demonstrated that the relative abundance of the different bacterial species collected from the mouth is preserved throughout the course of the xCELLigence analysis. This is critical because the goal of this work is to determine whether the ex vivo screening results from xCELLigence are predictive of how a drug will behave within the nascent bacterial milieu of a patient’s gums.    

Over the next six months, Dr. Mira’s team expects to evaluate enough samples to enable a statistically significant comparison of three treatment approaches: traditional prescription of antibiotics, prescription of antibiotics informed by DNA-based identification of select periodontal pathogens, and prescription of antibiotics based on the xCELLigence analysis. “We are so impressed by the vision and execution of this clinical research program by Dr. Mira and his team. We are exceptionally optimistic that, by replacing traditional guesswork with definitive answers, their work will reduce the time and cost of treating periodontal disease,” stated Dr. Yama Abassi, Vice President of Business Development at ACEA Biosciences.

In addition to this ongoing clinical research, Dr. Mira and his team are actively recruiting partners who’d like to employ their xCELLigence assay to discover novel drugs or validate existing technologies focused on modulating the oral microbiome.

View a short video of Dr. Mira describing the xCELLigence initiative here.

About xCELLigence® Real Time Cell Analysis (RTCA)
ACEA Biosciences’ xCELLigence RTCA instruments are being used in both academia and industry for life science applications ranging from cancer immunotherapy, bacterial biofilms, vaccine development and cardiotoxicity testing. With the xCELLigence technology, scientists can non-invasively monitor the behavior of cells by quantifying cell proliferation, morphology change, and attachment quality in a label-free, real-time manner.

About ACEA Biosciences, A Part of Agilent Technologies
ACEA Biosciences, a part of Agilent Technologies, is a pioneer in the development and commercialization of high performance cell analysis platforms for life science research. ACEA’s xCELLigence® Real-Time Cell Analysis instruments and NovoCyte® Quanteon flow cytometers are used in pre-clinical drug discovery and development, toxicology, safety pharmacology, and basic academic research. More than 3,000 instruments have been placed globally, and have been used in more than 2,000 peer-reviewed publications.

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For further information please contact:
ACEA Biosciences, Inc.
Dr. Jeff Xue
Phone: 858-299-8023
email: jxue(at)aceabio(dot)com

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