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Sensing peri-implant disease (STEP)
Start date: Oct 1, 2012, End date: Sep 30, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Peri-implant disease is a true threat in today’s advancement of implant reliability and performance. The diagnostic approach followed in this grant is for early recognition of peri-implant diseases. Our System is sensing Matrix metalloproteinase 8 (MMP-8) regulation indicative for connective tissue degradation as present at the borderline of gingivitis/mucositis and periodontitis/peri-implantitis. We detect risk factors at the earliest possible moment directly facing today’s challenge in dental implantation successes: The delayed recognition of peri-implant complications which are typically recognized only once clinical signs appear - a stage at which the disease course may be irreversible and lasting complications may prevail at the site of the implant zone. Consequently, the proposed system is designed to allow on-demand, self monitoring with the subject / patient providing surveillance of the peri-implant disease status. It is this patient-supported surveillance which upon report by the patient will allow the dentist to diagnose at an early disease state, potentially allowing relatively easy treatment modalities and as compared to the harsher approaches typically required at later stages. The 'monitoring device' for the proposed system is the human tongue. The diagnostic approach is deploying a protease / MMP-8 sensitive peptide sequence, coupled to a flavoring substance. This platform is (i) either coupled to the superior (cranial) aspect of a dental implant or (ii) to spheres, which in return are formulated into a chewing gum. In response to elevated MMP-8 levels as an early signs of peri-implant disease (MMP-8 is highly predictive for peri-implant diseases) the flavoring substance is released and sensed by the patient's gustatory system. It is this self-monitoring which we believe renders the system truly disruptive and radically opens novel opportunities for early diagnosis and treatment modalities of peri-implant disease.
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