“Nearly half of all adults in the United States suffer from the gum disease periodontitis, and 8.5 percent have a severe form that can raise the risk of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and pregnancy complications.
University of Pennsylvania researchers have been searching for ways to prevent, halt and reverse periodontitis. In a report published in the Journal of Immunology, they describe a promising new target: a component of the immune system called complement. Treating monkeys with a complement inhibitor successfully prevented the inflammation and bone loss that is associated with periodontitis, making this a promising drug for treating humans with the disease.
George Hajishengallis, a professor in the School of Dental Medicine’s Department of Microbiology, was the senior author on the paper, collaborating with co-senior author John Lambris, the Dr. Ralph and Sallie Weaver Professor of Research Medicine in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine. Their collaborators included Tomoki Maekawa, Toshiharu Abe, Evlambia Hajishengallis and Kavita B. Hosur of Penn Dental Medicine and Robert A. DeAngelis and Daniel Ricklin of Penn Medicine.”
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