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Gum disease vaccine in development
Updated: 12/15/2009 6:59:15 PM

A gum disease vaccine? The wheels have been set in motion to begin development of a vaccine to prevent the dangerous gum disease peridontitis, which may launch a revolution in dental care.

According to the Sunday Morning Herald, a team of Australian researchers in Melbourne recently signed a development contract between the pharmaceutical company CSL and vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur.

Dr Andrew Cuthbertson, CSL's chief scientific officer, told the news source that though work on the inoculation has been in progress for more than 10 years, the development deal adds significant support and resources for expanded research.

Currently, the companies are performing a clinical trial of the vaccine in mice and anticipate future trials in humans depending on the results of the animal study.

"Periodontitis is a serious disease and dentists face a major challenge treating it, because most people will not know they have the disease until it's too late," Professor Eric Reynolds of the University of Melbourne, who assisted in the study.

The disease has been linked to a heighted risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer.

While the studies on the vaccine continue, the American Dental Association recommends brushing, flossing and regular dentist visits to stave off dental health problems.

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