Restoring Tooth Enamel with Stem Cells: A Better Alternative to Fillings, Say Scientists
Restoring Tooth Enamel with Stem Cells: A Promising Alternative to Fillings
According to scientists, the restoration of tooth enamel using stem cells could revolutionize dental care and provide a better alternative to traditional fillings.
The Global Burden of Tooth Decay
It is estimated that a staggering 2.5 billion people worldwide suffer from tooth decay, as reported by The Economist. This widespread problem calls for innovative solutions, and scientists at the University of Washington may have found just that.
A Breakthrough in Dental Restoration
Dr. Anil Ruhula Baker, a stem cell biologist at the University of Washington, and her colleagues have recently published their groundbreaking method in the journal Cell. Their research focuses on using stem cells that have the ability to transform into any type of body cell, to restore teeth.
Transforming Stem Cells into Tooth Enamel Cells
Dr. Baker and her team conducted experiments to determine if stem cells can be transformed into ameloblasts, the cells responsible for forming tooth enamel. Remarkably, they were successful in engineering ameloblasts that produce the same proteins as natural ones, using a specific combination of drugs. Additionally, they stimulated the transformation of stem cells into odontoblasts, which produce dentin, the hard tissue beneath the enamel.
The Significance of Having Both Types of Cells
By cultivating these cells together, the researchers were able to create what they refer to as an “organoid” – a cluster of tissue in a petri dish that mimics a biological organ. This combination of ameloblasts and odontoblasts is crucial, as it helps clarify the expression of genes responsible for enamel proteins.
A Proven Breakthrough with Future Potential
While this work is not yet considered a prototype for a new treatment, it is a significant step forward in dental restoration. The researchers plan to scale up enamel production for future clinical trials. If successful, this discovery could potentially offer a method to regenerate decayed teeth. The findings have been sourced from the newspaper “Izvestia”.