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Is that research trustworthy? Conference looks at using clinical trials outcomes in practice

December 06, 2016

By Michelle Manchir


Closing comments: Drs. Steven Offenbacher (left) and Robert Weyant, lead a discussion period as a closing to the Translating Clinical Trials Outcomes to Your Practice conference at ADA Headquarters on Nov. 17.
There are safeguards in place to ensure that research published in most peer-reviewed journals today is scientifically sound and unbiased, experts said at a conference Nov. 17 at ADA Headquarters.

Translating Clinical Trials Outcomes to Your Practice, an event hosted by the ADA and the Task Force on Design and Analysis in Oral Health Research, brought experts together to examine whether there is a problem with bias in sponsored research related to its funding source, what protections exist to minimize bias in research and how clinicians can access and use the best evidence available in practice. The Task Force on Design and Analysis is a group of biostatisticians and clinical researchers who support major national and international conferences that address clinical research in dental caries and periodontal diseases.

Speakers at the conference included leaders from the ADA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the American Association for Dental Research and industry experts. More than 50 academicians, clinicians and industry professionals attended.


In the know: More than 50 academicians, clinicians and industry professionals attended the Translating Clinical Trials Outcomes to Your Practice conference on Nov. 17 at ADA Headquarters. Listening in here are (from left) Dom DiDonato, of Zimmer Biomet; Dr. Maria Ryan,  professor and chair of the department of oral biology and pathology at the Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine; and Elizabeth Hill, Ph.D., an associate professor at the Medical University of South Carolina.
"Clinical trials are complicated affairs," said Dr. Steven Offenbacher, a member of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs and a speaker at the conference, who addressed standardization challenges in study design and in assessing therapeutic outcomes. "Summarizing the information in them, analyzing the different studies and providing information that the practitioner can use and disseminate throughout the dental population for optimal care is a difficult challenge."

Dr. Offenbacher suggested those trying to understand how to make sense of the various studies on an issue of dental practice visit the ADA Evidence-Based Dentistry website, ebd.ADA.org. There, ADA Science Institute staff compiles summaries of the best available research, ADA-developed scientific reference materials and more.


Clinical research expert: Dr. Martha Somerman, director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, discussed the organization's clinical trials portfolio.
At the conference, Jamie Spomer, Ph.D., senior manager of ADA Seal of Acceptance program, discussed the relevance of industry-sponsored research in the ADA Seal of Acceptance Program. She said that consumers and dental professionals can trust any product with the ADA Seal because the corresponding product data have been independently reviewed to verify it meets its therapeutic claims based on requirements developed by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.

"The conference explored all the things that we have available to us to protect conflict of interest from causing bias in the studies which are being conducted," said Dr. Sebastian Ciancio, distinguished service professor and chair of the department of periodontics & endodontics at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York System, and the executive director of the Task Force on Design and Analysis in Oral Health Research.
 
After the conference, Dr. Ciancio talked about the use of clinicaltrials.gov, a registry and results database of both publicly and privately supported clinical studies conducted around the world that provides some transparency to the design and conduct of clinical trials. He also cited university contracts and journals that require researchers to report potential conflicts of interest as examples of barriers in place to help minimize bias in research.

Written proceedings of the conference are expected to be submitted to The Journal of the American Dental Association sometime in 2017.

For more information about the conference, email Dr. Luiz Meirelles, Ph.D., director of production evaluation for the ADA Science Institute, at meirellesl@ada.org.