“Researchers at the University of Louisville want to know whether AMD3100, a drug developed to combat HIV can help also control periodontal disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the gums.

To help answer this question, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $1.7 million to UofL School of Dentistry researcher George Hajishengallis and his team. Hajishengallis will use the funds to build upon a recent discovery that found how certain bacteria can sabotage a cell’s ability to fight off infection.

Hajishengallis and his team have been studying P.gingivalis–the primary bacteria behind periodontal disease—and how it causes confusion in human cells by introducing “cross talk” between cell receptors that typically function independent of each other. The cross talk slows down the cell’s ability to fight the bacteria enabling the bacteria to flourish, which can lead to bigger problems like gum or heart disease.”

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