National Academies of Science Hosts Workshop on the State of Regenerative Medicine

The Forum on Regenerative Medicine of the Health and Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Academies of Science held a workshop entitled, “State of the Science in the Field of Regenerative, Medicine: Challenges of and Opportunities for Cellular Therapies”. Experts and stakeholders in academic and industry research, patient advocacy, and law and ethics addressed both the promise and challenge of regenerative medicine.

Cell, tissue, and organ damage due to illness, injury, or aging is a growing health concern. Regenerative therapies for craniofacial, neurological, and muscular tissues damaged from tumors or injury could change the course of painful, debilitating, and even fatal diseases. Scientists have made key discoveries, such as cell reprogramming, that have propelled regenerative medicine forward, but formidable scientific, technological, and regulatory hurdles remain.

Lorenz Studer of the Sloan Kettering Institute discussed challenges with verifying cell types, understanding the stages of cell maturation most compatible with transplantation, accurately recapitulating human physiology and pathology in animal models, coaxing cells to adopt a three-dimensional architecture and to communicate with each other and different cell types, and overcoming the persistent threat of host rejection. Furthermore, for these therapies to become commercially viable, researchers will have to overcome manufacturing challenges in scalability, reproducibility, and quality control that will require significant technological advances, workforce training, and financial investments.

A persistent theme through the workshop was the length of time required for significant advances to occur. Studer recounted his two-decade journey in dopamine neuron regeneration for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. Ultimately, Studer and colleagues were able to graft the neurons into a mouse model of Parkinson’s Disease and demonstrate symptomatic relief. Anthony Oro of Stanford University described a similar 18-year effort in skin regeneration for the treatment of epidermolysis bullosa, a potentially fatal connective tissue disorder that can result in severe and painful blistering and squamous cell carcinoma. Currently, Oro’s work is in early-phase, proof-of-concept clinical trials.

Pat Furlong, President of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, gave a particularly compelling presentation from the perspective of a patient advocate. Furlong integrated current challenges and pitfalls of regenerative therapies in muscular dystrophy with her personal story of losing two sons to the disease. Furlong stressed the importance of exercising caution and restraint when communicating with patients and relatives about therapies still in the experimental stage.

NIDCR houses an active program in tissue engineering and regeneration and director Martha Somerman is a forum member. Furthermore, several AADR members are actively involved in and making significant contributions to regenerative research for periodontal disease, temporomandibular joint disorders, and other diseases of the dental, oral, and craniofacial complexes. AADR staff will continue to monitor and communicate future HMD activities in regenerative medicine.


Dental Quality Alliance Seeks Comments on Proposed Performance Measures

The Dental Quality Alliance (DQA) of the American Dental Association is seeking comments on the proposed measures in their interim report entitled, “Testing DQA Adult Dental Quality Measures”, before finalizing these measures in December.  The report outlines oral healthcare performance measures based on claims data for the following:

  • Periodontal Evaluation for Adults with Chronic Periodontitis
  • Ongoing Care in Adults with Chronic Periodontitis
  • Topical Fluoride Application for Adults at Elevated Caries Risk

The Executive Summary provides a helpful and concise table of the proposed measures. A table of descriptions of the codes in the Executive Summary are listed below. It should be noted that the Executive Summary includes other criteria for determining the respective measures. Please send any comments on the proposed measures to Seun Ajiboye at by COB on October 20, 2016 to assist AADR in developing a response.


Markers for Chronic Periodontitis
Code Description
D4240 Gingival flap (4 or more teeth/quad)
D4241 Gingival flap (1-3 teeth/quad)
D4260 Osseous surgery (4 or more teeth/ quad)
D4261 Osseous surgery (1-3 teeth/quad)
D4341 Scaling and root planing (4 or more teeth/quad)
D4342 Scaling and root planing (1-3 teeth/quad)
D4910 periodontal maintenance


Markers for Periodontal Evaluation
Code Description
D0180 comprehensive periodontal evaluation – new or established patient
D0120 periodic oral evaluation – established patient
D0150 comprehensive oral evaluation – new or established patient


Markers for Ongoing Care
Code Description
D1110 prophylaxis – adult
D4910 periodontal maintenance
D4341 periodontal scaling and root planing – four or more teeth per quadrant
D4342 periodontal scaling and root planing – one to three teeth per quadrant


Markers for Elevated Caries Risk
Code Description
D0602 Caries risk assessment & documentation, with a finding of moderate risk
D0603 Caries risk assessment & documentation, with a finding of high risk


Markers for Topical Fluoride Application
Code Description
D1206 topical application of fluoride varnish
D1208 Topical application of fluoride – excluding varnish

AADR Members Accept the Advocacy Challenge

During the summer AADR issued an Advocacy Challenge calling on our members to meet with members of Congress during the summer recess period. Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents about the value and importance of dental, oral and craniofacial research because they will be making critical funding decisions this fall. AADR members Dr. Ben Franklin Warner from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Dentistry met with Sen. Cruz (R-TX) staff. Also, dental students Elizabeth Guirado and Adam Parikh from Illinois met with Sen. Durbin’s (D-IL) staff.

Jessica Hart, Deputy Director of the Southeast Region for Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) met with the University of Texas Health Science Center of Houston School of Dentistry researchers

Jessica Hart, Deputy Director of the Southeast Region for Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) met with the University of Texas Health Science Center of Houston School of Dentistry researchers

Dr. Warner reported that approximately a dozen members from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Dentistry discussed the importance of increased Congressional funding for NIH, NIDCR, and the concern with student debt and the workforce.

“We emphasized that current funding decisions not only have immediate effects, but also have long-range impact on the next generation of researchers, clinicians as well as the health of all Americans. The staff expressed that they were impressed with our research and clinic facilities during the tour of our buildings. They indicated that as a result of our meeting, they became more aware of the importance of dental research,” Dr. Warner stated.

Elizabeth Guirado,  Tran Nguyen, aide for Sen. Durbin (D-IL) and Adam Parikh

Elizabeth Guirado, Tran Nguyen, aide for Sen. Durbin (D-IL) and Adam Parikh

The Illinois dental students also encouraged Sen. Durbin to support funding for NIH and NIDCR. After their meeting, Elizabeth Guirado stated, “Adam and I felt very confident that NIH/NIDCR funding was a priority for Senator Durbin  and his staff.” Meeting with members of Congress in their home state is a critical component of successful advocacy campaigns. AADR applauds our members who responded to the call for action and encourage others to engage in this important activity. For more information about how to be involved please contact the AADR Director of Government Affairs Carolyn Mullen by email at

AADR Government Affairs Committee & FNIDCR Transition Team Meet with Congress

Dr. Isabel Garcia;   Eduardo Sacasa. Sen. Rubio staff and KyuLim Lee meet on Capitol Hill.

Dr. Isabel Garcia; Eduardo Sacasa. Sen. Rubio staff and KyuLim Lee meet on Capitol Hill.

This week members of the AADR Government Affairs Committee and the Friends of NIDCR transition team conducted 20 meetings with members of Congress. During these meetings they urged Congress to approve a short term continuing resolution through December 9th and then when returning from the election to approve an omnibus appropriations bill that provides $34.1 billion for NIH and $430.5 million for NIDCR. They also articulated the devastating impact a six month or year-long CR will have on the biomedical research enterprise.

Reports back from these meetings indicate members of Congress are generally supportive of funding for NIH.

AADR Submits Response to NSF’s Strategic Plan Update

AADR submitted comments in response to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Strategic Plan update. Every four years, the NSF updates its strategic plan. To inform this process, the NSF requested feedback on its Vision, Core Values, Strategic Goals and Strategic Objectives in its current 2014-2018 Strategic Plan.

AADR urged NSF to continue to include dental, oral, and craniofacial research in its research portfolio, to strengthen partnerships with other federal agencies, and to invest in all levels of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

AADR will monitor the progress of NSF’s strategic plan update and represent the concerns of our members to NSF.

Click here to view AADR’s response.

Congress Approves Short-Term Funding Bill Averting Govt. Shutdown

Yesterday, Congress approved a short term continuing resolution (CR) averting a government shutdown and funding the federal government through December 9, 2016 at 0.5% funding level lower than fiscal year 2016. Importantly, the CR also includes $1.1 billion supplemental funding to combat the Zika virus. Included in the $1.1 billion for Zika is $397 million for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support advanced research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.The Senate voted 72-26 and the House voted 342-85 in support of this legislation.

What is next? When Congress returns from the November elections a lot of unfinished business awaits them during the lame duck session. Congress must approve an appropriations bill that funds the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year after the current CR expires on December 9th. AADR is strongly urging Congress to adopt an appropriations bill that provides increased funding for NIH and NIDCR.

How can you help? Please take a moment and send an email to your member of Congress stressing the importance of approving an omnibus appropriations bill by clicking here to access our action alert.

FNIDCR Sign on Letter Demonstrates Robust Support for NIDCR Funding

Last week, the Friends of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (FNIDCR) sent a letter signed by 46 organizations, patient advocates and dental schools urging Congress to provide $430.5 million for NIDCR in the final fiscal year 2017 appropriation bill. The organizations noted that putting appropriations on autopilot via a long term continuing resolution beyond December 9th will slow down progress to finding cures for many diseases that plague our nation.  This letter was also distributed by the AADR Government Affairs Committee and FNIDCR transition team during their in person meetings with members of Congress on September 26th.


Dental Community Urges Congress to Support Funding for Oral Health Programs

This month, the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) sent  letters to the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittees urging them to provide modest programmatic increases to allow more Americans to have access to better oral health.  The letter included a chart of funding priorities for oral health research and programs, including a request for Congress to provide $430.5 million for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) in the final appropriation bill for fiscal year 2017. These organizations also noted the significant and detrimental impact a six month or year long continuing resolution would have on these programs and the populations they serve. ADA, AAPD, ADEA and AADR therefore urged Congress to approve an omnibus appropriation bill after the election.

AADR Joins the Rally for Medical Research

Rally for Medical Research advocates gather for a group photo before going to Capitol Hill.

Rally for Medical Research advocates gather for a group photo before going to Capitol Hill.

Last week, AADR joined 350 individuals from 37 states in support of the Rally for Medical Research. The purpose of the Rally is to call on our nation’s policymakers to make funding for the National Institutes of Health a priority and raise awareness about the importance of continued investment in medical research that leads to more progress, more hope and more lives saved.

Carolyn Mullen, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Dr. David Chaplin from UAB and Dr. Manoj Mishra from Alabama State University

Carolyn Mullen, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Dr. David Chaplin from University of Alabama at Birmingham and Dr. Manoj Mishra from Alabama State University

During the lobby day, AADR led a group of advocates from Alabama and met with staff from Sens. Shelby and Sessions and Reps. Palmer and Rogers. The Alabama delegation also met directly with Rep. Martha Roby and Rep. Sewell. All of the policymakers and their staff indicated their support for NIH funding and recognized its significance as an economic driver for the state.

AADR Submits Response to FDA’s “Submission of Warning Plans for Cigars” Draft Guidance to Industry

AADR submitted a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in response to the “Submission of Warning Plans for Cigars” draft guidance to industry. The guidance instructs industry on displaying warning labels on cigar packages and cigar advertisements.

AADR experts provided valuable input that was used to craft AADR’s response.  AADR recommended that the FDA narrow the definition of cigar to exclude little cigars or cigarillos so that these can be regulated as cigarettes. AADR also recommended that the FDA include a warning about the link between tobacco use and gum disease and tooth decay in addition to the six proposed warnings. Finally, AADR recommended that the FDA explore the use of graphic warning labels as these are more effective than text labels.

It is our hope that this guidance and AADR’s response will help warn consumers about the health consequences of cigars and reduce cigar sales and use. AADR will continue monitoring the progression and finalization of the guidance.

Click here to view AADR’s response.