uBiome’s Dental Campaign to Give Portion of Proceeds to Charitable Dental Organization

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Partnering with Oral Health America’s Smiles Across America

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It is a noble effort to conduct this necessary research and also give back to organizations that assist underserved areas with oral care.

uBiome launched the world’s first dental citizen science campaign on March 19th, 2015, two years after it made history with a record-breaking campaign to sequence the human microbiome. The biotech startup sparked the era of microbiome-based personalized medicine in 2013, and has since, engaged with the public to provide easily accessible information about their own bodies using the latest in high-throughput DNA sequencing technology. In less than two weeks from launch, the company has raised more than 50% of its goal for the dental study. With these funds and future contributions, they will now contribute a portion of their proceeds to charity, propelling both dental care and dental research forward.

uBiome will give a portion of the proceeds to Oral Health America’s (OHA) Smiles Across America (SAA) program. SAA helps fight untreated oral diseases by linking local governments, businesses, and funders with dental care providers; they are also involved in building school oral health programs and providing underserved children with access to oral care. uBiome’s dental microbiome study will provide useful data for improving dental patient care worldwide, allowing organizations such as SAA to bring more optimal treatments and sophisticated preventative methods to their patients.

Dr. Jeremy Horst, DDS, PhD, the principal investigator notes, “This information will be exceptionally useful for dentists who want to get an idea of a patient’s baseline dental microbiome or for following up post-diagnosis of caries or periodontal disease. It is a noble effort to conduct this necessary research and also give back to organizations that assist underserved areas with oral care.” Dr. Horst has a clinical practice in the Bay Area and is involved in intensive research at UCSF, focusing on dental caries and genome-wide computational drug discovery techniques. He is a rare combination of practicing dentist and PhD bioinformatician, and aims to highlight the importance of dental research in patient care using uBiome technology.

“We are all frustrated by our inability to predict and prevent dental disease. We need better tools to help us track the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease and help educate our patients,” Dr. Horst says.

uBiome’s analysis provides participants with a catalog of their own microbes related to their dental microbiome through a self-collected sample that is then processed in uBiome’s laboratory in San Francisco. The service details the microbial composition of various dental sites, explains what is known about each type of microbe, and relates the participant's microbiome information to the latest scientific research on the role of the microbiome in health, diet and lifestyle.

“This new dental microbiome research is being done in collaboration with a team of dental experts, and most importantly, with the public. We launched this study on Indiegogo so that everyone could participate in citizen science, and now, give back to important dental organizations with every contribution. We hope this data proves valuable for dentists and anyone curious about the health of their teeth and gums,” said Jessica Richman, CEO and co-founder of uBiome.

To back the study and contribute to Smiles Across America, visit igg.me/at/ubiomedental.

The human body is composed of 10 trillion human cells, but there are ten times as many microbial cells as human cells - the 100 trillion that together form the microbiome. These microbes are not harmful, but rather are co-evolved symbiants, essential collaborators in our physiology. Like the rainforest, the healthy human microbiome is a balanced ecosystem. The latest research suggests that the correct balance of microbes serves to keep potential pathogens in check and regulate the immune system. Microbes also perform essential functions such as digesting food and synthesizing vitamins.

Recent research has indicated the dental microbiota as a potentially predictive model of oral diseases, however, dental microbial analysis is not a standard in dental practices. Cavities develop as a direct result of an imbalance in an otherwise-stable, oral microbiome and initiation of Periodontal disease and tooth decay is marked by an decrease in the complexity of the microbiome. The oral microbiome has also been linked to many diseases including neurodegeneration in glaucoma, pediatric inflammatory bowel disease, and Alzheimer's Disease through inflammatory processes related to periodontal disease.

Scientific research in the 21st century has seen great strides in collaborative practices, with “citizen science” allowing professional scientists and amateurs to collaborate on large-scale research questions. According to Dr. Zachary Apte, CTO and co-founder of uBiome, “We want to make the science available to everyone. Now, anyone can have their dental microbiome sequenced and contribute to science.”

In contrast to immutable human genome, the microbiome, has the potential to be modified through simple means such as targeted antibiotics, healthful probiotics, diet and other lifestyle interventions. Thus, the microbiome may provide some of the most important medical breakthroughs of our era. uBiome ultimately aims to empower participants to manage their microbiomes to improve their health. By joining uBiome, citizen scientists can explore their own dental microbiome and be partners in the process of scientific discovery.

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If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview, call uBiome at +1 415-275-2461 or email CEO Jessica Richman at jessica(at)ubiome(dot)com

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Jessica Richman
uBiome
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