Founded 25 years ago by plastic surgeons, Operation Smile has treated more than 100, 000 children with cleft lip and cleft palates throughout the world demonstrating that no other specialty can approach what plastic surgery does in reconstructing patients, restoring dignity and changing lives. This November, nearly 300 plastic surgeons lent their expertise to the World Journey of Smiles (WJOS) -- a unique Operation Smile 25th anniversary effort where from November 7th - November 16th in 25 countries plastic surgeons and other medical professionals conducted 40 missions, treating 4, 149 children with facial deformities. Leading by example in Ecuador were long-time Operation Smile volunteer and American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) President-Elect John Canady, MD and ASPS Executive Vice President, Paul Pomerantz.
Using a mouse model of Treacher Collins Syndrome (TCS), the Stowers Institute's Trainor Lab has demonstrated that it can prevent this rare disorder of craniofacial development either by inactivating a gene implicated in the abnormality or by inhibiting its protein product. The work, which was posted to the Web site of the journal Nature Medicine, is a follow-up to the team's 2006 discovery of the cellular cause of TCS. The team evaluated how a mutated TCOF1 gene causes the death of neural crest cells that should otherwise form most of the bone, cartilage, and connective tissue that make up the head and face during embryonic development. The loss of these cells results in abnormal development of the ear, nose, and upper and lower jaw, including cleft palate. The team discovered that chemical inhibition of a single protein, the product of the p53 gene, could prevent the craniofacial abnormalities caused by the TCOF1 mutation.
By creating a genetic mutation in zebrafish, University of Oregon scientists say they've discovered a previously unknown mechanism for cleft palate, a common birth defect in humans that has challenged medical professionals for centuries. Many molecular pathways in zebrafish are present in humans and other vertebrates. By studying the induced mutation in zebrafish, the 10-member research team isolated a disruption in early developmental signaling involving Pdgf, a platelet-derived growth-factor protein, and a microRNA known as Mirn140, the researchers write in a paper posted online in advance of regular publication the monthly journal Nature Genetics. Mutant zebrafish lacking Pdgf had cleft palate similar to many human babies, showing that this growth factor helps to organize cells that make the palate.
Scientists have discovered how to prevent certain craniofacial disorders in what could ultimately lead to at-risk babies being treated in the womb. University of Manchester researchers, working with colleagues at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas, have successfully treated mice with Treacher Collins syndrome - a rare genetic disorder characterised by underdeveloped facial bones, absent or deformed ears and occasionally cleft palate. The team had previously found that the condition, which affects one in 10, 000 individuals, was caused by a mutation in a single gene called TCOF1. They later discovered that this mutation causes cells, known as neural crest cells, to die prematurely in the early stages of pregnancy resulting in the facial anomalies. Now, writing in the journal Nature Medicine, the researchers have shown that preventing the neural crest cells from dying allowed mice with the Treacher Collins gene to develop normally.
Following is a summary of the keynote presentations, symposia, and workshops that will anchor the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research, convening April 2 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. Keynote Presentations Wednesday, April 2 * "Optimizing the Survival of Ceramic Prostheses: Lessons Learned from the Analysis of Clinical Failures", Susanne Scherrer (University of Geneva, Switzerland), 3:15 p.m., Grand Ballroom D (Dental Materials Group) * "Implantology - The State of the Art in 2008", Ichiro Nishimura (University of California, Los Angeles, USA), 3:15 p.m., Morocco Room (Implantology Research Group) Thursday, April 3 * "Race and Ethnicity as Social Determinants of Oral Health", Luisa Borrell (Columbia University, New York, NY, USA), 8 a.m., Senators Lecture Hall (Behavioral, Epidemiologic & Health Services Research Group) * "Improvements in Clinical Diagnosis and Management of Caries", Dominick Zero (Indiana University, Indianapolis, USA), 8 a.