On the Tissue Engineering of Teeth

Singularity Hub looks at the tissue engineering of teeth: "For years, researchers have investigated stem cells in an effort to grow teeth made for a person's own cells. Toward this end, [scientists] have developed methods to control adult stem cell growth toward generating dental tissue and 'real' replacement teeth. [The] researchers' approach is to extract stem cells from oral tissue, such as inside a tooth itself, or from bone marrow. After being harvested, the cells are mounted to a polymer scaffold in the shape of the desired tooth. The polymer is the same material used in bioreabsorable sutures, so the scaffold eventually dissolves away. Teeth can be grown separately then inserted into a patient's mouth or the stem cells can be grown within the mouth reaching a full-sized tooth within a few months. So far, teeth have been regenerated in mice and monkeys, and clinical trials with humans are underway, but whether the technology can generate teeth that are nourished by the blood and have full sensations remains to be seen. Teeth present a unique challenge for researchers because the stem cells must be stimulated to grow the right balance of hard tissue, dentin and enamel, while producing the correct size and shape."

Link: http://singularityhub.com/2012/05/10/toothless-no-more-researchers-using-stem-cells-to-grow-new-teeth/

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