Tooth Cells or Cord Blood Cells?
Tooth Cells can be complementary, or even an alternative, to umbilical cord banking.
Why are Tooth Cells complementary to umbilical cord blood banking?
First, it is important to understand that there are key differences between umbilical cord blood cells and tooth cells.
The type of stem cells found in cord blood are known as hematopoietic stem cells, and they can also be found in bone marrow.
These cells have potential for use in a limited number of treatments, including bone marrow transplants; however the primary limitation with the use of these cells is that they cannot be expanded in a laboratory, which limits the number of cells that can be isolated. This means that there may not be enough material to perform a stem cell therapy on an adult.
The second limitation of these cells is that while they can form blood lineage cells, which makes them extremely useful in treating conditions like leukaemia, and some other blood diseases, they have limited applications beyond this.
The stem cells isolated from teeth are known as Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC’s).
They are not isolated from the blood in the tooth but from other tissue contained within the tooth itself. These cells do not have the same limitations as cord blood stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells can form many different types of tissues, and therefore offer the possibility of therapy for many different types of diseases and conditions. These cells can also be safely expanded in a lab, so that there is not the same limitation to supplying sufficient material for multiple therapies on adults.
Whilst some research has shown that there is a very limited presence of MSC’s in cord blood, this has been measured at less than 0.001%, and would not generally be regarded as suitable therapeutic source of MSC’s.
Why are Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC’s) so important?
Firstly, MSC’s from tooth banking are not limited to the number of stem cells that can be isolated so very large numbers of cells can be produced for therapy.