New anaemia treatment prevents plaque build-up

28 October 2021
1 min read

A new peer reviewed publication from the University of Pennsylvania has reported that an iron-oxide nanoparticle that is FDA-approved to treat anemia acts as an enzyme to activate hydrogen peroxide to suppress the growth of tooth-decay-causing biofilms.  

There is plenty of evidence to suggest a link between iron-deficiency anemia and severe tooth decay, although whether the connection is correlative or causative is unknown.  

Now, the University of Pennsylvania, alongside Indiana University, have conducted a study – in which a combination of an iron-oxide nanoparticle-containing solution, called ferumoxyto,l and hydrogen peroxide was applied to real tooth enamel placed in a denture-like appliance and worn by the study subjects. 

The article, titled ‘Ferumoxytol Nanoparticles Target Biofilms Causing Tooth Decay in the Human Mouth’ and published in Nano Letters, explains, “We conducted a randomized crossover study whereby FerIONP treatments were performed on human subjects using a wearable intraoral appliance with implanted natural tooth enamel under severe conditions conducive of dental caries.  

“We found that FerIONP displayed a potent antimicrobial specificity against biofilms harboring Streptococcus mutans (a cariogenic pathogen) but not against other oral bacteria, which resulted in the significant reduction of enamel demineralization. Further analyses revealed that FerIONP preferentially bound to S. mutans through a glucan-binding mechanism and selectively killed the pathogen through the localized generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in situ.  

“In addition, we showed the possibility of using FerIONP for cariogenic biofilm detection using the catalytic mechanism.” 

Speaking to media outlet Eureka Alert, Hyun (Michel) Koo, a professor in the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and co-author of the article, said, “We found that this approach is both precise and effective. 

“It disrupts biofilms, particularly those formed by Streptococcus mutans, which cause caries, and it also reduced the extent of enamel decay. This is the first study we know of done in a clinical setting that demonstrates the therapeutic value of nanozymes against an infectious disease.” 

The co-authors also included Yuan Liu and Zhi Ren of Penn Dental Medicine, Yue Huang and Min Jun Oh of both Penn Dental Medicine and Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, David Cormode of the Perelman School of Medicine and Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, Dongyeop Kim of Korea’s Jeonbuk National University, and Anderson T. Hara and Domenick T. Zero of Indiana University. Liu was first author and Zero and Koo were co-corresponding authors on the paper.