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UD partner in NIH research project to produce artificial salivary glands
Date:8/13/2012

University of Delaware professor Xinqiao Jia is part of a research team breaking new ground in the creation of artificial salivary glands.

Funded through a $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, the research team hopes the work will lead to new solutions for Xerostomia, or dry mouth, an inevitable consequence of radiation treatment for head and neck cancers.

The four-year project is a collaborative effort between researchers at Rice University, the University of Delaware and Christiana Care Health System. Principal investigators named to the project include:

Cindy Farach-Carson, vice provost for translational bioscience and professor of biochemistry and cell biology at Rice University; Xinqiao Jia, associate professor of materials science and engineering and biomedical engineering at UD; and Robert Witt, M.D., chief of the multidisciplinary head and neck oncology clinic at Christiana Care's Helen F. Graham Cancer Center.

Head and neck cancer patients often undergo radiation as an early course of treatment. Such treatment often destroys the saliva-producing cells in the mouth. This side effect causes dry mouth which can lead to severe dental issues, as well as difficulty swallowing, speaking and eating, and overall discomfort.

To date, current therapies in this area have proven ineffective over the long term.

"Few in the research community have applied tissue engineering strategies to the problem. Our hope is that by assembling a strategic team with engineering, biological and clinical expertise, we can make headway and offer new hope to patients suffering from this condition," said Jia, a tissue engineering expert.

In previous work the research team developed methods for isolating and growing salivary cells, which are responsible for water and enzyme production, in the lab prior to radiation. These cells form 3D secretory structures when cultured in biologically r
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Contact: Tracey Bryant
tbryant@udel.edu
302-831-8185
University of Delaware
Source:Eurekalert  

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