InteliSpark client, Advanced Cytometry Instrumentation Systems LLC has been awarded a Phase I grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) for their project, “novel optical dental imaging technology utilizing targeted upconversion nanoparticles for noninvasive detection of dental caries”. ACIS’ goal is to develop a novel optical dental imaging technology that utilized targeted upconversion nanoparticles for noninvasive detection of dental caries and assess its ability to improve the limit of detection (sensitivity) of dental caries and the specificity (decrease false positive detection rates), compared to currently technology. Dental caries is noted as the most prevalent chronic disease worldwide, affecting almost 100% of adults and 60-90% school-aged children. Current technology and techniques related to dental caries have been found to produce high false-positive detection rates.
Upconversion materials are excited with nonvisible 980 nm light which has deep tissue penetration and emit light in the visible region. Using this process, ACIS will be able to greatly reduce background autofluorescence of biological samples, resulting in high signal to noise rations to enhance the sensitivity of detection. With this grant, ACIS will be able to address their dual-aim proposal by first assessing the limit of dental caries detection using a peptide-targeted UCNP that adheres to hydroxyapatite in extracted human tooth specimen, and then assess the limit of dental caries detection of a peptide-targeted UCNP that adheres to S. Mutans in cultured bacteria and extracted tooth specimen with carries. ACIS also plans to move forward to a Phase II grant application, in efforts to develop a device, acute and chronic in vivo toxicity of the UCNPs, and in vivo studies for detection of dental caries in animals pertinent for translation to human trials.