Grant enables LUX DS to further develop tool for early detection of dental disease

March 16, 2009
The UK's Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has awarded a grant to LUX DS (Edinburgh, Scotland) and the University of Dundee's Centre for Clinical Innovations to develop a photonics-based medical device for assessing dental disease. The Carivis clinical device promises to enable dentists to find active tooth decay early, accurately, and in hard-to-access areas--and thereby prevent or arrest dental disease.

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB), a group dedicated to promoting technology-enabled innovation across the UK, has awarded a grant to LUX DS (Edinburgh, Scotland) and the University of Dundee's Centre for Clinical Innovations (Dundee, Scotland) to develop a novel photonics-based medical device for the assessment of dental disease.

LUX has been able to apply its expertise with light-based technologies to the dental field and in collaboration with the University of Dundee is developing Carivis, a clinical device that promises to allow dentists to easily and accurately visualize active tooth decay. Although tooth decay (dental caries) is largely preventable, it remains one of the most prevalent diseases.

If caught early, decay can be arrested and even reversed by improving oral hygiene and through dentist-applied treatments such as varnishes and sealants. The key to success is identifying active decay earlier, more accurately and in hard-to-access surfaces such as between the teeth and in fissures. Carivis addresses these difficulties and is an innovative approach to assess the activity of caries lesions in one visit to the dental practice, as well as assist in monitoring the ongoing effect of preventive measures to arrest the activity of these lesions.

"Tooth decay still affects more than 80% of the population and current detection technologies are designed for locating cavities that require fillings," said LUX Innovate Ltd CEO Dr Artin Moussavi. "On the other hand, the Carivis system for assessment of caries activity focuses on managing the disease by giving dental practitioners the unprecedented ability to look into its early stages and offer preventive solutions to the patient."

The Carivis system is based on Glowdent, a compound that emits light in the presence of active tooth decay. Along with its continuing partnership with the Centre for Clinical Innovations of the University of Dundee, LUX DS is working across the dental industry to apply the abilities of Glowdent from the clinic and dental research lab to the home diagnostics market. LUX has a particular interest in applications within the field of dental erosion (tooth wear), which is an increasing problem in the western world, especially among children.

"The funding received from the TSB is expected to significantly accelerate progress towards the regulatory approval of Carivis, allowing us to bring its benefits to the dental chair," Moussavi said. LUX DS was selected among more than 100 companies that submitted proposals for the TSB's Technologies for Health competition. Twenty-two finalists, including LUX DS, will share approximately £10 million that will partially fund development of new healthcare technologies.

More information:
See more on preventive dentistry at Lux DS's website.

About the Author

Barbara Gefvert | Editor-in-Chief, BioOptics World (2008-2020)

Barbara G. Gefvert has been a science and technology editor and writer since 1987, and served as editor in chief on multiple publications, including Sensors magazine for nearly a decade.

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