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Periodontics and Oral Medicine

Kapila Lab - In the News

kapila lab photo Researchers Drs. Pachiyappan Kamarajan, Yvonne Kapila, and Turki Alhazzazi (left to right) proudly display the Hatton Awards presented to Dr. Turki Alhazzazi.

The Hatton Awards are presented by both AADR and IADR to junior investigators who demonstrate the potential for a successful career in dental research. An AADR committee selected the six best presentations from among 27 who were nominated. The selected six then competed at IADR with other divisional winners.

Turki Alhazzazi won both a first place IADR/Hatton Award (senior category) and second place in the AADR/Johnson & Johnson Oral Health Products Hatton Award (senior category) for his poster presentation "SIRT3, Longevity-Promoting Gene, A Novel Therapeutic Target for Oral Cancer."

The five-year survival rate for oral cancer, approximately 50 percent, has not changed in several decades. Alhazzazi and Kamarajan, who work in the lab of Dr. Yvonne Kapila, discovered a novel potential therapeutic target for oral cancer.

Recently, several members of the sirtuin family (SIRT1-7) have been found to play an important role in carcinogenesis. However, until Alhazzazi, Kamarajan, and Kapila conducted this research, the role of sirtuins in oral cancer had not been investigated. These studies show that SIRT3 is overexpressed in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) in vitro and in vivo, compared to other sirtuins. Downregulation of SIRT3 inhibited OSCC cell growth and proliferation and increased its sensitivity to radiation and cisplatin treatments.