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 world-wide. Recent estimates suggest the number of people affected to be at least one billion. In Sweden, about 10% of the population suffer 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, director
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 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 bioterapheutics, Clinical discovery and verification of predictive biomarkers, Sensor development, Risk assessment and philosophy, and Health economics.
The aim of Foresight is:
- To apply a multidisciplinary approach to generate innovative strategies for prediction of oral disease
- To pool competences of researchers from five different disciplines to develop a new generation of scientifically-based clinical tools to identify patients at increased risk of oral disease
- To promote use of oral healthcare resources in a cost-effective way by improving risk assessment and preventative regimes.
The results will be implemented both in clinical praxis and education, thereby giving thousands of people access to the outcomes of Foresight.