02103-A: Development of an Effective Canine Periodontal Disease Vaccine

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $12,960
Paola Massari, PhD; Boston Medical Center
November 1, 2014 - October 31, 2015

Sponsor(s): Health & Rescue Foundation of the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Club of America, Pekingese Charitable Foundation, Inc.

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: General Canine Health
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Eighty percent of dogs will experience some form of periodontal disease in their lifetime. Halitosis (bad breath) is a minor side effect of disease, but in its more severe form disease can cause gum inflammation, oral bone and tooth loss, all of which are painful and debilitating. Current treatment options include manual removal of plaque and tartar; however, this only delays disease progression and often must be supplemented with antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and pain medications. Periodontitis is caused by infection with oral pathogens including Fusobacterium nucleatum and Porphyromonas gulae. The most effective targeted interventions against periodontal pathogens will be through effective immunization, directing a dog's own immune system to combat the bacteria responsible for disease. At the current time research efforts on vaccine strategies against canine periodontitis are still scarce compared to human disease. Dr. Massari proposes a novel vaccine containing purified Fusobacterium nucleatum and Porphyromonas gulae bacterial proteins. She believes that dogs immunized with these bacterial proteins and an effective adjuvant (immune enhancer) will generate antibodies against the pathogens. Further, her research group believes that the ideal adjuvant must enhance vaccine efficacy by driving an antibody-mediated response that will not cause cell-mediated inflammation, thereby preventing the exacerbation of oral tissue disruption and pain. Rigorous testing of efficacy and safety of this vaccine in a laboratory setting is required prior to immunization of animals. Therefore, Dr. Massari will conduct proof-of-principle studies with candidate antigens and adjuvants in cell culture, as well as conduct a laboratory mouse model study to determine if their candidate vaccine has the potential to prevent oral infection. This study will guide future studies for vaccine trials designed to prevent periodontal disease in dogs.


None at this time.

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