Grant To Help MU Researchers Help Cure Dry Mouth

A nearly four million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health to a University School of Medicine researcher will fund a study to restore salivary gland function in cancer patients.

Radiation treatment for head and neck cancer can decrease saliva production causing oral infections, pain, and decreased quality of life.

Olga Baker, DDS, PhD professor of otolaryngology and biochemistry is the recipient of the grant and is developing a process to repair the salivary glands and ultimately cure dry mouth with just a single treatment.

Baker and a University of Buffalo researcher will create and administer a biomaterial called a fibrin hydrogel that contains proteins designed to stimulate a damaged salivary gland to restore its function.

The grant runs through July 2026.