Extracted Teeth Could Be Easy Source Of Stem Cells
New research from Japan suggests that dental pulp from extracted teeth may be an easy source of Induced Pluripotent Stem (IPS) cells, which like embryonic stem cells, have the potential to form several different cell types, but without the controversial ethical problems.
These were the findings of a study led by K. Tezuka from the Gifu University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, that was published online in the journal Journal of Dental Research on 16 June. Tezuka did the research with colleagues from Gifu University and from Japan’s Kyoto University, where the first IPS cell was generated in 2006.
There are not many places in the human body where you can harvest potential IPS cells with a minimally invasive procedure, which is why Tezuka and colleagues decided to evaluate how easy it might be to culture stem cells from dental pulp, which can easily be obtained from extracted teeth.
From six cell lines they tested they produced 5 that were viable:
“From all 6 DPC [dental pulp cell] lines tested with the conventional 3 or 4 reprogramming factors, iPS cells were effectively established from 5 DPC lines,” they wrote.
Also, further tests revealed that these lines could make stem cells that are genetically compatible with 20 per cent of the Japanese population:
“… determination of the HLA types of 107 DPC lines revealed 2 lines homozygous for all 3 HLA loci and showed that if an iPS bank is established from these initial pools, the bank will cover approximately 20% of the Japanese population with a perfect match,” added Tezuka and colleagues.
They concluded that:
“Analysis of these data demonstrates the promising potential of DPC collections as a source of iPS cell banks for use in regenerative medicine.”
They also suggested further studies may show the cell lines match more than 20 per cent of the Japanese population.
William Giannobile, Editor in Chief of the journal said in a statement that:
“This work is significant in that it proposes the exciting potential of stem cell banking from readily available extracted teeth.”
“Although at an early stage of development, this innovation offers prospects for cell therapy approaches for the treatment of human disease,” he added.
Professor Jacques Nör, a researcher at University of Michigan’s School of Dentistry and who was not involved with the study, said that he and others have been able to extract stem cells from teeth that would have fallen out anyway, reported ABC Science.
Although Nör said one of the exciting things about using dental pulp as a source of stem cells is how accessible it is, especially when you consider primary teeth. However, he cautioned that they don’t want to create false expectations either:
“We know this isn’t going to be a cure for everything,” said Nör.
“As long as people keep this in mind, it may be useful in five, 10, 15 years from now as a treatment for significant diseases,” he added.