Dr. Benjamin Keselowsky (PI), professor, and Dr. Gregory Hudalla, assistant professor, along with collaborators, Shannon Wallet and Mark Wallet were recently awarded a $2.1 million NIH grant entitled “Tissue-Targeted Enzyme for Localized Tryptophan Catabolism to Direct Subcutaneous.”
Periodontal disease refers to the inflammatory processes that occur in the tissues surrounding the teeth in response to bacterial accumulations, or dental plaque, on the teeth. The chronic and progressive inflammation of the gums leads to bone destruction and loss of tissue attachment to the teeth.
The aim of this research is to develop a new approach of administering enzymes to locally shut down the inflammation associated with periodontal infection. Drs. Keselowsky and Hudalla have fused two proteins together to endow an enzyme which breaks down tryptophan and produces molecules called kynurenines, a powerful anti-inflammatory combination, with prolonged tissue retention capability using proteins that bind carbohydrates found in tissues.