Precision immunotherapies for chronic Porphyromonas gingivalis infections


What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease (PD) or periodontitis affects the gums and bones that support our teeth.  The World Health Organisation estimates one billion people globally suffer from periodontitis.

Untreated periodontitis leads to chronic inflammation, which makes our gums swell and bleed, weakening the ligaments that anchor your tooth in the jaw.

Severe periodontal disease occurs when ligaments of the tooth are damaged, and a deep pocket forms under the gum along the tooth root.  In extreme cases, tooth loss may occur.

Watch this video to learn more about Pg and it's role in periodontitis.

What is Porphyromonas gingivalis?

Porphyromonas gingivalis is an oral bacterium linked to many chronic diseases.  Healthcare professionals also call it Pg. 

Pg is common, with most people having some Pg around their teeth and gums. 

Pg on the gum and tooth surface is non-pathogenic (not harmful). Pg becomes pathogenic (harmful) when it gets below your gum line, following down the root of a tooth, where it can form a pocket. 

Pathogenic Pg in the gum pocket secrete microbial toxins that can damage the local tissue and even enter your bloodstream. 

Pg’s role in severe periodontal disease.

Pathogenic Pg deep in the pocket multiple and release microbial toxins that cause gum inflammation and bleeding. 

The blood acts as a food source for Pg (and other bacteria), helping them to multiply. Pg microbial toxins make it difficult for your immune system to control the growth of Pg. 

The inflammation caused by Pg and the microbial toxins it secretes, eventually destroys the tooth ligaments and the bone of the tooth socket unless successfully treated. 

Current periodontal disease treatments.

Current treatments, performed by a periodontist, involve physically scraping the bacterium off the tooth root. This procedure is called scaling and root planning (SRP). In some circumstances, antibiotics and laser therapy are used.

SRP is painful, expensive, and not readily available, with results varying between people. Patients typically need to receive multiple treatments per year to keep their Pg under control.

More information about periodontal disease.

Here are some organisations that can provide you with more information about periodontal disease.

Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic

Non-profit US based academic medical centre.

Find out more
Centre for Disease Control & Prevention

Centre for Disease Control & Prevention

United States national public health agency.

Find out more
American Academy of Periodontology

American Academy of Periodontology

A rich source of information about periodontitis.

Find out more

Register interest in a clinical trial.

If you would like more information about our upcoming clinical trial in healthy participants, please see the ANZCTR for more information about the study.

If you would like to take part in a healthy volunteer safety trial for our therapeutic vaccine in Melbourne, please register your interest with our Clinical Trial Partner Nucleus Network.