“Nearly half of the U.S. adult population suffers from periodontitis, a form of chronic gum disease. Bacteria are responsible, causing inflammation and eventually bone loss, and in the worst cases, even affecting overall health. A treatment for this prevalent disease could benefit millions of people. With a recent finding, researchers George Hajishengallis of Penn’s School of Dental Medicine and John Lambris of the Perelman School of Medicine, along with other University colleagues, have made a signifi- cant stride toward that goal. In a study published in the Journal of Immunology, they identified a molecular target that, if blocked, hamstrings the inflammatory activity of gum-disease-causing bacteria. The result can stave off the harmful effects of periodontitis and even reduce problems after it has taken hold of the gum tissue. The discovery stemmed from work the researchers had previously done on the body’s complement system, a component of the immune system that helps eliminate attacking pathogens.

Click here for entire article.