A study published in the Journal of Dental Research suggests a new system may be available for classifying periodontal disease, allowing for earlier detection in patients. Lead researcher, Panos Papapanou, Professor and Chair of Oral and Diagnostic Science at College of Dental Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, started this study 10 years ago, after getting ideas of how cancer biologist classified tumors. Taking a cohort of 120 patients for periodontal surgery, they took tissue samples and analyzed the tissue profiles. They analyzed them according to traditional classification and looked at whether gene expression profiles were different between these two classification groups. Some differences were found but not such huge difference to corroborate classification. Then, they did the opposite by letting the signatures identify the classes of patients and then they looked at similar characteristics, which were the results they ultimately went with.
Papapanou says it's encouraging because it shows that you can use gene expression profiles as a basis for developing a new classification system. He says that the hope is that if you tie the diagnosis to some sort of pathology, then you can design more customized treatments. While he knows they're not there yet, the next step is to validate their classification in a new group of patients.
"We're on the beginning of a journey but what we've shown so far is pretty encouraging," Papapanou says.
Panos Papapanou is a Professor and Chair of Oral and Diagnostic Science at College of Dental Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. For more information on the study, click here. He spoke with Dentist News Network, providing online, on-demand dental video content and is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.