If funded, will Lantern Bioworks successfully recreate BCS3-L1?
resolved Sep 27

Aaron Silverbook has an extremely interesting Manifund proposal to cure cavities forever. If Lantern Bioworks reaches their minimum funding bar ($50k) across Manifund & other sources, will they succeed at their goal of creating this bacteria culture?

Resolves N/A if they don't raise $50k for this project within 1 year; resolves NO if 2 years after receiving funding, they have declared failure or are no longer pursuing this. (Note: I may update this criteria to best capture the spirit of the question, based on feedback from Aaron or others)

Excerpts from the proposal:

Dental cavities cost about $45 billion per year in America alone, disproportionately affecting lower-income persons. BCS3-L1 is a genetically engineered streptococcus mutans bacteria which does not secrete lactic acid, and thereby doesn't cause cavities in teeth. After a single application, this strain persists in the mouth indefinitely, hedging out cavity-causing bacteria. (See our FAQ and safety review at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mDJCTO2QySmQOZQcajYReDCA1MFpKs-EZ5E0VNu50Fo/)

This passed animal trials back in 2003 (under the brand name SMaRT, Streptococcus Mutans associated Replacement Therapy) and tested flawlessly in human volunteers, but the developing company declined to go to market, and instead pivoted to selling once-daily probiotic mouthwash.

Project goals

Eventually, to cure cavities for everyone forever.

How will this funding be used?

BCS3-L1 isn't under patent, but possession remains a significant part of the law. Although I have the blessing of the original inventor Dr. Jeffrey Hillman, he and his former company Oragenics have parted ways, and as far as we can tell, they're the only holders of the organism.

But, there's nothing preventing us from recreating BCS3-L1 ourselves from commercially available precursor bacteria.

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predicted NO

Never been happier to lose marbles.

predicted YES

Holy shit

predicted YES

@AndrewG Adequate reaction. Good news to wake up to

predicted YES


predicted YES

Resolving to YES at Aaron's request - he states that Lantern has succeeded and I trust his judgement and impartiality on this. (Note that he is also the biggest YES holder, but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't falsify this to earn the equivalent of $2 haha)


(Don't take my word for it; anyone is invited to review our sequencing data)


predicted YES

Whats up with the recent move?

@ScipioFabius saw a few posts on twitter along the lines of "TIL they cured cavities years ago" that brought some eyes to this

they're the only holders of the organism

Fewer than 15 people have actually had this in their mouths already

Huh. Presumably those people still have it? I guess they're hard to find or something?

Would this be transmissible? It seems like yes.



predicted YES

@ElliotDavies I am new to patent law but it seems to cover both the strain and the use of the strain for therapeutic effect

To my understanding, this patent only applies to the use of a specific gene,

which triples the production of mutacin 1140. To my knowledge, the BCS3-L1 strain was never patented, and the original SMaRT patent has since expired.

That said, I am very much not a patent lawyer! And if this patent seems problematically broad in scope, I would like to know that.

[2 min look into this] The biology here doesn't seem particularly complex, and there seems to be a lot of past work to build upon, including sequencing efforts. To me the key question is the competency and facilities the grant applicant has at hand.

predicted YES

@ElliotDavies Context for non-biologists: introducing novel gene into a bacterium, and knocking out genes in a bacterium, is basically undergrad level biology.