Oral and pharyngeal cancers are by far the leading cancers in the world today. The problem is that these are not discovered until too late and thus the treatment, which includes radiation and surgery, involves sacrificing a large amount of tissue leading to disfigurement.
Now two Virginia Tech researchers are collaborating with the American Dental Association (ADA) to build ''a tissue engineered composite material for oral reconstruction.'' Brian Love, Virginia Tech professor of materials science and engineering, and principal investigator in this project stresses that they could provide ''substantially better clinical outcomes for all oral constructions could result if a more viable scaffold material were used that was capable of faster and higher quality bone formation.'' His team is monitoring how amorphous calcium phosphates (ACPs) can play a role in the rebuilding of the lost tissue. ''By constructing tissue engineered composites containing ACPs, living osteoblasts, and donor materials,'' Love said. The Paffenbarger Research Center of the ADA is providing the ACP required for this study. Aaron Goldstein of Virginia Tech's chemical engineering department, Drago Skrtic of the ADA Paffenbarger Research Center and Peter Shires of Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine are collaborating with Love in this particular venture.
The details of this study are appearing in the forthcoming issues of the Journal of Biomaterials Science, Polymers Edition, and the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research.