Medicated toothpaste may soon be a new way to take your daily prescription

Jul 13, 2020

University at Buffalo Dental School researchers have figured out a way to take routine medications and turn them into particles so tiny, they can be mixed with toothpaste. Brushing your teeth twice a day would give a person a daily dose of their prescription med.

Dr. Praveen Arany, an assistant professor of oral biology, said the toothpaste mix was started to help deal with severe dental disease, which can be fatal.

"None of us walk around with a large festering wound on the back of your leg, right? That troubles us. What we don't realize is that gum disease is exactly that. You are actually walking around with an abcess full of  infections," Arany said. "Our institute has been a pioneer for connections to endocarditis, to pre-term pregnancy, to poor control of diabetes."

OptiMed Technology co-founders (l to r) Robert Bachellor, Praveen Arany and Daniel Chan.
Credit Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo

He said the number one group that may benefit from the mix of old with new are transplant patients.

"These are people who are going to get a new lung, new liver, new kidney and, as you can imagine, they are very fastidious about their health and about their care. So we feel that would be an ideal population that would benefit from the treatment right away," Arany said.

It is also another case of university research being used to help start a private company and create jobs. Arany is part of OptiMed Technology, another university spinoff company which is receiving grants to commercialize the platform technology.

"Unlike most companies that are looking at a 10-year or a 12-year, $20 million clinical trial, we are looking at something that is already available, readily available. It's on the FDA GRAS list, generally regarded as a safe material," he said. "And the uniqueness is the formulation, but the formulation, we think of it as a organic toothpaste or a niche toothpaste."

He said the first testing on humans will start within a year, using a standard already licensed drug, cyclosporin, mixed with locally made toothpaste by a compounding lab inside the UB pharmacy school. The dental researcher said there are a lot of doctors watching the progress carefully, because they have medicines for patients they want to see tested with toothpaste.