Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) affects 10 million Americans, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Its exact causes are still unknown, though its major symptom is pain, and it tends to co-occur with other pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. With these challenges in mind, Proove Biosciences designed its Proove TMD Profile test to help clinicians diagnose and treat patients with TMD.
According to the company, the test helps clinicians understand the underlying mechanisms involved in TMD pain, including genetic variants in the adrenergic and serotonergic pathways, as well as patient self-reported stress and tender points to provide personalized insights into the pathways involved in each individual patient’s case. It also enables clinicians to pinpoint individualized treatment solutions by analyzing DNA markers, the company claims.
“A couple of months ago, Proove presented data and product details at the annual scientific meeting of the TMJ Association. It was exciting to see the translational clock ring in its final hour, as all of the efforts that started with patient advocates and leading researchers now materializes in a commercially available precision medicine profile supported by published evidence to help patients get the treatment they need,” said Ashley Brenton, PhD, associate director of research and development at Proove Biosciences.
Researchers at Harvard University have found that dentists are among the leading prescribers of opioid analgesics, particularly for surgical tooth extractions. According to their study, the highest number of opioid painkiller prescriptions went to teenagers aged 14 to 17 years, closely followed by young adults aged 18 to 24 years. TMD and other forms of orofacial pain often are treated by dentists, orthodontists, and maxillofacial surgeons.
Yet without knowing or understanding certain genetic factors such as predispositions to addiction, Proove states, many professionals put these patients at risk for abuse. The ADA reports that dentistry is responsible for prescribing 12% of all instant-release opioids that contribute to the nationwide opioid addiction epidemic. Recent advances in genetic testing, personalized medicine, and bioinformatics enable dentistry to address this issue, according to the company.
Equipped with the commercial license to resulting data from the National Institutes of Health’s largest prospective clinical studies on TMD, Proove Biosciences says that it has effectively pioneered a technological upgrade to genetic testing and personalized medicine in the world of orofacial pain.
By using evidence-based and patent-protected healthcare decision tools, the company claims that it enables clinicians to evaluate pain perception, assess opioid use disorder risk before treatment, and identify personalized treatment options to those suffering from TMD. Tackling opioid abuse through preventative measures, Proove Biosciences says, represents an innovative step in addressing widespread addiction.