CuRE Innovations LLC, a startup founded to develop dental materials invented by faculty at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), will use a $211,111 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to continue work on a dental adhesive that fights decay.
“A grant like this provides an incredibly valuable boost to a new company like CuRE,” said MUSC Foundation for Research Development executive director Michael Rusnak. “Now CuRE can explore a technology with the potential to positively impact the dental health of countless people.”
The adhesive incorporates particles of copper iodide (CuI) that curtail infections, including the formation of tooth decay under existing dental restorations. Using the grant, CuRE will evaluate its ability to inhibit the development of marginal decay in restorations while ensuring the CuI doesn’t impact the adhesive’s mechanical and bonding properties.
CuRE’s researchers believe that CuI’s antimicrobial effects and white appearance differentiate it from other copper dental materials. These differences especially will be key, they say, in preventing secondary caries under existing restorations and restoration failure.
“The reality is that the restorations dentists place have to survive in one of the harshest environments in the human body,” said Wally Renne, DMD, CuRE CEO, associate professor with the MUSC College of Dental Medicine department of oral rehabilitation, and director of CAD/CAM technologies.
CuRE’s platform, Renne added, protects the tooth and extends the longevity of restorations. The adhesive is designed to extend long-term bond strength compared to typical adhesives while reducing secondary caries. More than a quarter of the 120 million resin-based restorations placed in the United States each year replace failed restorations caused by recurrent caries, costing more than $5 billion annually, CuRE said.
Upon successful completion of the research, CuRE will be eligible to apply for Phase II STTR funding for up to $1.5 million. After that, the company may be able to submit the adhesive to the US Food and Drug Administration for initial market approval.
The company also is investigating the use of CuI particles in pit and fissure sealants, dental implants, endodontic materials, crowns, and resins used for dentures. It is generating preliminary data for these other CuI products to serve as the foundation for additional collaborations with leaders in the dental materials industry or future STTR submissions.
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