Awards, Faculty and Staff, Research

Offenbacher and Beck Awarded New Cooperative Agreement

Steven Offenbacher and James Beck were recently awarded a five-year cooperative agreement, MOTOR-Maternal Oral Therapy to Reduce Obstetric Risk.

The award of over $9 million will fund five separate components: an administrative oversight project at the UNC School of Dentistry; three clinical trial performance sites at UNC School of Dentistry, Duke University Medical Center, the University of Alabama Dental and Medical Center and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; and a clinical trials data and statistical coordinating center at the UNC Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center in the School of Public Health.

Recent studies have confirmed that there is an association between maternal periodontal disease and pregnancy complications that result in premature delivery. Data suggest that periodontal disease and its progression may represent an infectious and inflammatory exposure that could have serious deleterious effects during pregnancy.

Scientifically, to determine whether periodontal disease is causally related to preterm delivery and confers any modifiable risk, it will be critical to demonstrate that treating periodontal disease in pregnant mothers results in a decreased incidence of preterm birth and growth restriction.

The central hypothesis is that mothers with periodontitis who receive periodontal treatment during the second trimester of pregnancy will experience a lower rate of preterm delivery and a higher mean birth weight of the premature infants.

The study will span five years and will be a randomized, two-armed, clinical trial completing 1800 mothers at three medical/dental centers.