The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are Australia’s most prestigious and highly regarded awards for outstanding achievements in scientific research, research-based innovation and excellence in science teaching. They recognize the extraordinary contribution that Australia’s scientists and science teachers had made to the nation.
These awards celebrate excellence and innovation, and offers an opportunity to bring the entire industry together to celebrate Australia’s world leading role.
The Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation is awarded for the innovative translation of scientific knowledge into a commercially available product, service or process that has had substantial economic, social and where relevant, environmental benefits.
GC is proud to announce that our industry expert, Laureate Professor Eric Reynolds AO was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation in his work on improving oral health, including inventing and commercializing Recaldent, a product based on his discovery of a protein in dairy milk that repairs and strengthens teeth. His team have also developed a test and vaccine for severe gum disease which are now being commercialized.
For inventing and commercializing Recaldent, Professor Eric Reynolds won the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation.
Today gum with Recaldent is sold around the world and in Japan it’s the largest selling sugar-free gum. The success of the gum in Japan led to a new opportunity with GC Corp, a Japanese dental supplies business with a global reach.
“GC Corp are a highly innovative company,” says Eric. “They’ve incorporated Recaldent into a wide range of products that are now available in over 50 countries.” The core product is a dental cream called Tooth Mousse, often used after dental work. It also strengthens ‘chalky teeth’ and reduces tooth sensitivity.
Eric continues to improve Recaldent, and a recent US study showed that use of a combination of Recaldent products including a new toothpaste eliminated tooth decay in children. Eric is also tackling the other major oral health challenge – gum disease or periodontitis.
“Most of us will get a bit of mild gum disease or peridontitis from time to time when ‘bad’ bacteria in our mouths get out of balance with ‘good’ bacteria,” says Eric. “Bacteria get between our gums and our teeth and an inflammation kicks off. If we’re unlucky then the peridontitis bacterium moves in, leading to bone loss and ultimately our teeth fall out.” Peridontitis is also implicated in other issues from rheumatoid arthritis to oral cancer.
Eric and the Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre, which he leads, are working on tests for peridontitis and a vaccine that could break the cycle of infection in people with severe gum disease.