Dental Professor Receives Grant to Develop Crohn’s Disease Treatment

Dentistry Today


Associate professor Scott Kachlany, PhD, of the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine Department of Oral Biology has received a two-year, $621,403 grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust to research the cause and treatment of Crohn’s disease.

Kachlany aims to identify the types of white blood cells that trigger inflammation in patients with Crohn’s disease. He also plans on testing a new drug candidate that he has been studying to see if it can reduce or even eliminate the inflammatory white blood cells. 


Called Leukothera, the drug is based on Kachlany’s discovery that the periodontitis-causing oral bacteria Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans produces a protein that kills diseased white blood cells.

Kachlany has since founded a company, Actinobac Biomed, to develop Leukothera as a potential treatment for leukemia and lymphoma as well as numerous autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.

“We’re trying to understand the mechanism that causes these certain white blood cells to become inflamed in Crohn’s patients and how this new therapy can be used to eliminate inflamed white blood cells,” said Kachlany. 

“The ultimate goal is to learn more about the etiology of Crohn’s disease and introduce new therapies that can benefit patients who suffer from this condition. This grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust will be instrumental in helping us reach this goal,” he said.

Actinobac Biomed has received $5 million in venture capital funding and more than $3 million in federal funding to help bring the drug to market.

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