The Foresight programme aims through a multidisciplinary approach to discover a new generation of predictive biomarkers for caries and periodontitis and use them to develop tools to improve clinician’s ability to identify patients at increased risk of oral disease, thereby reducing healthcare costs by directing resources to those in most need.
Both severe caries and periodontitis are among the most common diseases worldwide. Recent estimates suggest the number of people affected to be at least one billion. In Sweden, about 10% of the population suffers from severe caries or gum disease with the risk of losing their teeth. The figure is expected to increase dramatically due to the continuously increasing proportion of elderly people. There is also evidence linking periodontitis and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The aim of Foresight is to discover and implement a new generation of predictive biomarkers for caries and periodontitis
Professor Gunnel Svensäter
There is a need to develop new biomarkers and tools for risk assessment. With the risk assessment tools available today, individual risk is often misjudged and many patients are over-treated while others do not receive the treatment they need. This over-treatment contributes significantly to the approximately 10 billion SEK a year cost of dental healthcare. Inadequate risk assessment also leads to inequality in healthcare by failing to target treatment to those most in need.
This complex problem requires the integration of different knowledge domains: discovery of predictive biomarkers and preventive biotherapeutics, sensor development, verification and clinical validation of biomarkers, risk assessment and risk philosophy as well as health economics. Rather than encompassing more of the same ‘single disciple’ research, the programme seeks to integrate researchers from different disciplines in an interdisciplinary approach.
Within the programme, five main projects with researchers from different disciplines will work with different aspects of biomarker discovery and implementation in the clinical setting. Project themes are Experimental discovery of predictive biomarkers and preventative biotherapeutics, Clinical discovery and verification of predictive biomarkers, Sensor development, Risk assessment and philosophy, and Health economics.
Several research projects are conducted within the framework of Clinical Odontological Research in Southern Sweden (KOF-SYD), a research collaboration with Public Dental Care.
The research projects focus on different aspects of the discovery of predictive biomarkers for caries and periodontitis and the implementation of these biomarkers in the clinical setting using sensor technology.