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Psoriasis Drug May Have Application for Treating Periodontal Disease

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Researchers at the National Institutes of Health and University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in Philadelphia have found a possible new therapy for periodontitis involving a treatment the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved for psoriasis. The drug, which blocks the activity of the signaling molecules interleukin-12 (IL-12) and IL-23, may also have application for managing periodontal diseases. The team reports that high levels of IL-17 contribute to periodontal inflammation, but that using an antibody that binds the p40 subunit of IL-23 and IL-12 inhibits production of IL-17.

Using a mouse-based model, investigators identified a mouse form of leukocyte adhesion deficiency (LAD). This rare genetic disease causes recurrent bacterial infections and periodontitis in humans, according to the study, “Interleukin-12 and Interleukin-23 Blockade in Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency Type 1,” published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In the study, the team successfully treated a 19-year-old patient with LAD who had severe periodontitis and a chronic nonhealing skin wound by using the drug that blocks interleukin activity. The authors report the patient’s oral health and skin wound improved dramatically after a year of treatment.

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