The Cooperative Research Centre for Oral Heath Science (CRC-OHS) at The University of Melbourne has been awarded a prestigious prize for Excellence in Innovation. The prize, which was presented by the Cooperative Research Centre Association (CRCA) at its annual conference, recognised the achievements of Tooth Mousse Plus which sought to address the $2 billion cost of tooth decay to the Australian community.
Australian and Japanese researchers in the CRC-OHS set out to find a method of using fluoride in a more effective way than traditional forms to prevent tooth decay. The remarkable new product penetrates 10 times deeper into teeth than current fluoride treatments.
The treatment combines fluoride with a substance designed to penetrate tooth enamel. Known as peptide-calcium phosphate nanocomplex, it repairs tooth damage by replacing the minerals lost through the decay process. Researchers at The University of Melbourne developed the fluoride and nanocomplex formulation, before product development moved to Tokyo to a laboratory of GC Corporation Japan - a participant in the CRC-OHS.
The resulting product demonstrates the effectiveness of working within the transparent framework of Cooperative Research Centres (CRC). Knowledge was shared quickly and in good faith between the research parties, and outcomes include new scientific understanding and a successful commercial product.
The CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Oral Health Science, and the Head of Dental Science at The University of Melbourne, Professor Eric Reynolds, describes Tooth Mousse Plus as a breakthrough in oral health care. "Laboratory tests and clinical trials have shown Tooth Mousse Plus not only provides the highest level of fluoride protection now available for teeth, but that it can also repair existing decay damage. It's the result of a real team effort by molecular scientists, dentists and formulation chemists."
More than 600,000 patients worldwide in 50 countries have benefited from the new treatment since its release 18 months ago, including 100,000 patients in Australia. The global oral care industry is estimated to be worth more than US$20 billion per annum.
CRCA represents 58 Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) which specialise in a broad range of sciences, technologies and industries. The hub of applied research in Australia, CRCs aim to increase collaboration between researchers and industry and better promote the uptake and use of research. Since its establishment in 1990s the CRC Program has led the world in cooperative innovation.