A Liverpool University research team has developed a product that has the potential to bring relief to the estimated 3.5 million UK sufferers of oral thrush. For its efforts, the team recently won the £25,000 Armourers and Brasiers Venture Prize.
According to the most recent adult dental survey, 28 per cent of the UK population wear dentures and a quarter of these are likely to develop denture stomatitis or fungal-induced stomatitis (mainly Candida albicans), commonly known as oral thrush.
To address the issue, the Liverpool team of scientists, led by Dr Rachel Williams and Dr Luke Dawson, developed a nanoparticle silica coating that inhibits the adhesion and proliferation of cells and micro-organisms. Laboratory tests have shown that their nanoparticulate silica coating can inhibit the build-up of virulent oral thrush (Candida albicans).
Using Proof of Concept (POC) funds awarded by the university technology transfer company, Ulive, the team has developed a transparent solution containing the nanoparticles, which adhere to the denture once placed in it. The solution could be used by denture wearers as part of their normal cleaning procedure.
Williams said: 'Our approach will reduce the need for sufferers of oral thrush to be treated by drug therapy. This is important as these drugs cannot be used in all patients.
'Our product aims to prevent the occurrence of oral thrush and maintain a healthy mouth via continual renewal of the nanoparticle coating.'
He added: 'Having proved the principle in the laboratory using the Ulive POC funding, we now need to assess this product in a clinical setting. The prize win will go towards carrying out clinical trials and evaluation in key patient groups.'