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Koike NIH RO4 grant

Dr. Mari KoikeDr. Mari Koike, assistant professor in biomaterials science at HSC-Baylor College of Dentistry, has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to test dentures made with two new titanium alloys.

Her NIH R03 grant project, titled "Fabrication of denture frameworks using titanium alloys," was awarded $240,000 for all costs over a two-year period.

Current dentures are made with a framework of other metals - usually cobalt and chromium, or gold and palladium. However, Koike says reports are increasing of allergic reactions and other adverse effects of these metals on some patients.

One solution is to discontinue using these allergy-causing alloys and replace them with titanium. Already titanium dentures have been a success for some patients, using frameworks made with pure titanium or titanium alloys containing aluminum and vanadium. However, scientists have raised concerns about biocompatibility of vanadium causing hypersensitivity or infection, so a more biocompatible titanium alloy is preferable. 

Koike proposes to test two new titanium alloys and compare them with conventional dental alloys and existing titanium alloys. One to be tested is a new commercial alloy made with titanium, aluminum and iron. She also will test an experimental alloy studied at HSC-BCD that is made with titanium, aluminum and copper.

In the study, conventional denture framework designs will be cast from the new metals. The cast frameworks will be evaluated with X-rays to visually detect casting defects and porosity. They also will be checked for any dimensional changes during the casting process. Since the strength of a framework's clasps is important to the longevity of dentures, the study will examine the retentive force of the clasp arms. Researchers will evaluate the framework's durability in fatigue as well.

The project concludes June 30, 2011. Koike and colleagues intend to use the study results as a baseline for a later, more extensive study including clinical trials.

Koike joined HSC-BCD in 2005 and teaches dental materials to both dental and dental hygiene students. She holds a dental degree and a Ph.D. in dental biomaterials from Nagasaki University School of Dentistry in Japan.