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VCU Lead University On $536K Product Development Grant

Friday, January 30, 2015  
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On a snowy day in February 2014, VCU engineers, a VCU periodontist and executives from US Probe met at the Translational Research Innovation Projects (TRIP) facility in Biotech One (Richmond, VA). Their goal was to plan the development of a game-changing new product for dentistry. In October, the Virginia Bioscience Health Research Corporation (VBHRC) awarded the project, Early Detection of Periodontal Disease, an 18-month grant of $536k to assist in its development toward commercialization.

VCU is partnering on the grant with Old Dominion University and US Probe LLC who has raised an additional $536k in matching funds from investors. L. Franklin Bost, executive associate dean for the VCU School of Engineering, is the principal investigator for the project code named “PeriProbe.”

“The PeriProbe system is a non-invasive concept which will reduce pain and provide improved diagnostic accuracy in early detection of periodontal disease,” said Bost.

More than 150,000 dentists and 200,000 dental hygienists in the USA as well as about 1.8 million clinicians worldwide can benefit from the system. Advantages of early detection of periodontal disease result in less complications for the patient and lower cost treatment options for the dentist and healthcare system.

Additional VCU project participants include Gerald Miller, Ph.D., professor and chair of Biomedical Engineering, Robert Klenke, Ph.D., professor and interim chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Zhao Lin, D.D.S., Ph.D., assistant professor of Periodontics. At US Probe LLC Todd Varon, CEO, and Jack Singer, president, are leading the development, commercialization and financing programs. Gayle McCombs, RDH, M.S., will be coordinating the clinical evaluations at Old Dominion University.

Currently, the project is based in the TRIP Center, a unique collaborative facility that offers VCU faculty and business partners space for innovative product prototype design and development. The system will undergo prototyping and bench testing in the Center’s collaboration spaces and Maker Shop.

Following development and testing, clinical diagnostic studies will be conducted at VCU Medical Center and Old Dominion University.

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