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Dentistry resident awarded research grant

by Beth Newcomb
Seonghong Min’s project will examine the process of regrowing missing jawbone. (Photo/Gregory Maxwell)
Photo: Seonghong Min’s project will examine the process of regrowing missing jawbone. (Photo/Gregory Maxwell)

Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC resident Seonghong Min received a $25,000 research grant from the Academy of Osseointegration Foundation for his proposal on the effects of antibodies on the regrowth of jawbone.

Min’s project will examine the process of regrowing missing jawbone in the presence of antibodies that bind to certain bone morphogenic proteins (BMP) expressed by the body.

Min said that using the antibodies, placed on an absorbable collagen sponge at the site of the bone defect, provides better bone regrowth since it stimulates the activity of the body’s own BMP instead of requiring doses of BMP from other sources. The AMOR method grows bone faster and poses fewer costs and health risks, he added.

The project will specifically compare the results of the AMOR technique when used in sites with continuity (some existing bone already at the target site) and with no continuity (no bone located at the target site). The technique has several promising clinical implications, according to Min.

“A variety of inflammatory and traumatic conditions, such as arthritis, osteonecrosis, periodontitis and osteoporosis, are associated with pathologic osteolysis regions,” he said. “Repair and regeneration of these defects have traditionally been achieved with autologous bone grafting as a gold standard due to its osteogenic property. However, this is associated with disadvantages such as morbidity, limited availability of the donor site and limitations related to the shape and contour of the graft.

“AMOR enables us to not harvest any bone from your body. AMOR doesn’t even need synthetic BMP — just your own endogenous BMP,” he added.

The funds awarded to Min will help support his research for one year. He will present his work at the 2014 Academy of Osseointegration Annual Meeting in Seattle.

Min said the award gives him more encouragement to continue on his path to a career in dental education and research. He shared his gratitude for those who have supported his work, including Advanced Periodontology Program Director Homa Zadeh.

“Dr. Zadeh has influenced me a lot. He is truly my role model as a researcher and periodontist,” Min said. “I could not have had this wonderful achievement without his support and teaching.”

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