Two research projects at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry recently received funding from the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP), an agency of the state of California.
These funds will support research into whether cigarette smoke and nicotine in particular impairs the regenerative abilities of human dental pulp cells and make the dental pulp more vulnerable to damage from inflammation.
Nan (Tori) Xiao, DDS, MOrtho, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, received a two-year grant of about $500,000 to cover salaries, supplies, and other related costs in her study, “Impact of Cigarette Smoking on Dental Pulp Mesenchymal Stem Cells Mediated Tissue Regeneration.”
Postdoctoral researcher Cássio Almeida da Silva, PhD, received a $175,000 fellowship to evaluate to effects of cigarette smoke extracts on inflammasome activation in oral cells uninfected or infected with two common oral pathogens.
“Research on the health effects of smoking and vaping is an emerging research focus of the Dugoni School,” said David Ojcius, PhD, chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, who will be one of Xiao’s co-investigators.
“Other faculty members have recently submitted applications to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and other foundations to support research on the health hazards of vaping, and more applications are planned,” Ojcius said.
Among other effects, smoking increases the death of stem cells and suppresses their regeneration, reports the school, which aims to help dentists make more accurate prognoses, provide better personalized treatment plans, and significantly reduce the socioeconomic cost of dental treatment for cigarette-smoking patients.
The TRDRP funds research that enhances understanding of tobacco use, prevention and cessation, the social, economic, and policy-related aspects of tobacco use, and tobacco-related diseases in California.