NIH Grant for NYU Will Create Research Network in Dental Practices
NYUCD has received a $26.7 million award from the National Institute
of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), to establish a regional "practice-based"
research network (PBRN) over the next seven years. The innovative
research approach -- networking dental offices in research projects
-- will enable greater scientific rigor to be brought to "everyday"
issues in the practice and delivery of oral health care.
This is one of the largest grants ever made by the NIDCR and the
largest NIH grant ever received by NYU.
Dean Alfano said, "Dentists usually work as solo practitioners,
not in groups like physicians do. In addition, most dentists are
not closely linked to hospitals with their related network of support
systems that helps facilitate clinical research in medicine.
"That is where the genius of a practice-based network comes in:
the NYU project, known as the PEARL (Practitioners Engaged in Applied
Research and Learning) Network, has an extremely large number of
practitioners and the largest and most diversified patient population
in the nation, permitting us to knit these dentists together for
research projects that can deliver powerful solutions to the day-to-day
problems confronted in dental offices. It bridges the gap that has
traditionally existed between practicing dentists and academia,
and has the potential to transform the way dentistry is practiced.
This award places NYU College of Dentistry in the vanguard of efforts
to improve the practice of health care in the United States."
Dr. Jonathan Ship, the PEARL Network's principal investigator and
chair, said, "The PEARL Network seeks to organize, train, inspire,
and facilitate a network of dental practitioners to conduct research
of immediate relevance to the profession and the public. This is
the first time that the NIH has allocated funding for clinical research
that directly involves dental practitioners from study concept initiation
through study completion."
Traditionally there has been a void in clinical dentistry, explained
Dr. Ship. "Many dentists are frustrated by having to make clinical
decisions every day in practice that do not have a sufficient scientific
basis. For example, 'What should be the appropriate follow-up interval
for a specific procedure or disease? Is it necessary to use a particular
course of antibiotics? Is an over-the-counter medication as effective
as a prescription?'"
The NIDCR awarded three seven-year grants, totaling $75 million,
to create three regional networks dedicated to expanding the evidence
base in dentistry. The NYU College of Dentistry was selected to
create and lead the regional network for the east coast of the United
States. Each regional network will conduct approximately 15 to 20
short-term clinical trials over the next seven years, comparing
the benefits of different dental procedures, dental materials, and
prevention strategies under a range of patient and clinical conditions.
The networks also will perform anonymous chart reviews, as allowed
by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA),
to generate data on disease, treatment trends, and the prevalence
of less common oral conditions.
NYU's PEARL Network draws its strength from a distinguished team
of NYU senior scientists, the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research
(the largest center of its kind in any dental school in the world),
a world-class data coordinating center (EMMES Corporation in Rockville,
MD), the largest dental marketing and practice management firm in
the world (Levin Group in Owens Mills, MD), and a broad network
of investigators and consultants.
The PEARL Network comprises four Cores, each of which is directed
by a senior NYU dental faculty member, who is also a co-investigator
and co-project leader.
- The Recruitment, Retention, and Operations Core (Frederick
A. Curro, DMD, PhD) ensures sufficient investigators for studies
and data integrity.
- The Training and Certification Core (Ananda P. Dasanayake,
BDS, MPH, PhD) provides training and certification to every
- The Protocol Development Core (Van P. Thompson, DDS,
PhD) will solicit ideas from practitioners and transform the
ideas into protocols relevant to clinical practice.
- The Information Dissemination Core (Page W. Caufield,
DDS, PhD) will ensure the timely dissemination of research findings.