Portuguese scientists announce they have developed an experimental vaccine against tooth decay, which was yielded positive results in laboratory tests on rats and could be the precursor for a version that works for humans.
“What we found is that the animals which were vaccinated with this protein developed much smaller lesions than the control group which had not been vaccinated,” says Paula Ferreira, one of three Oporto University researchers who worked on the vaccine.
“There is still a long road to travel (for a human version). Before that experimental models which are closer to man need to be tested, namely in monkeys, and for that financing is needed,” she tells Lisbon-based TSF radio.
Rats’ tooth decay is similar to that of humans. Therefore they made them candidates to see if the vaccine works.
The three scientists have already patented the vaccine in Portugal and are in the process of achieving a U.S. patent as well. During the patent process extensive tests are still being conducted.
Tooth decay, commonly known as cavities, is one of the most common health complaints in the world. It is caused when acids produced by bacteria that are normally present in the mouth eat away at a tooth.
Researchers around the world have been investigating the development of a vaccine, which would eliminate the bacteria that creates this acid from the mouth in order to prevent tooth decay from forming.