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The exciting new developments around tooth stem cells


A lot of people will now have heard of stem cells and their benefits. A cell that is undifferentiated and capable of leading to infinitely more cells being produced can bring about a lot of medical improvements to people’s lives. There have been issues with where these stem cells are found, resulting in potentially difficult operations, such as locating bone marrow, to retrieve some of these useful cells. However, thanks to exciting new prospects regarding tooth stem cells, the possibilities are ever expanding.

According to researchers from Harvard, it is possible to use low-powered laser light to trigger these dental stem cells to form a hard substance called dentin, which possesses similar materials to our bones, and can be used to regenerate the teeth straight away, as opposed to current conventional methods of stem cell treatment that require the appendage in question to be removed from the body, fixed in the laboratory, and reattached using state-of-the-art techniques. This is no denigration of a fantastic achievement in medical history that continues to save lives, but if it is now possible to use stem cells to fix parts of the body without removing them, it is certainly an exciting time for the industry.

Now for the scientific breakdown, for all of those who are curious as to exactly how this works. It turns out that standard regulatory cell proteins known as the catchy “transforming growth factor beta-1”, or TGF-β1 for short, is the main trigger that turns these dental stem cells into dentin and starts the regenerating process. TGF-β1 will only have an effect once it has been activated by certain molecules, particularly those containing oxygen, which have an important part to play in cellular function.

Understanding the effects of this low-level light treatment on the body at a molecular level is what could be termed a breakthrough in scientific development. It allows movement towards controlled treatment and protocols to mitigate any safety issues and protect the patients, as is the priority. Once we get to this sort of stage, it becomes a lot easier to roll out programs to those requiring the types of treatments that stem cells can really improve, such as tissue regeneration, repairing tiny parts of the eye such as the cornea, and even diabetes, as well as the potential to make inroads on genetic and hereditary diseases.

There are a lot of people working to bring these exciting fronts together and helping to make it an affordable possibility. Much of this is centered towards those with baby teeth, which will fall out anyway and thus pose no risk in terms of long-term damage when extracting a cracked or permanently damaged tooth. Tooth cell bank specialists BioEden offer tailored services aimed at preserving stem cells from children at a young age, from baby teeth that have fallen out. BioEden uses cryo-preservation so that the cells are available for when they are needed in therapy, potentially changing the course of a life-threatening health situation into a positive outcome.