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Scientists Bioengineer New Teeth In Mice

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Scientists Bioengineer New Teeth In Mice

Scientist grow new teeth in mice…

Japanese researchers at Tokyo University, have grown new teeth in mice with the help of bioengineered tissue. Dr. Fei Liu a researcher at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, who is familiar with the study, said the research provides “convincing” proof that bioengineered teeth can be fully functional.

While Liu cautioned that the procedure is still far from being used in humans, he predicted that people will one day opt for the biological tooth as a better, more functional replacement.

The researchers behind the study wanted to find out what would happen if they took bioengineered tooth “germs”, tissue that holds the instructions to building a tooth, and transplanted it into the jawbones of mice.

tooth-regeneration-in-mice

Once implanted, the mass of tissue took fifty days to grow to the same height as the surrounding tooth. The new teeth are just as hard and have all the same blood vessels and nerves. The teeth also developed nerve fibers that can feel pain.

Dr. Louis J. Elsas, interim chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, hopes the new research will give way to new corrective surgeries:

“Tooth regeneration could be useful particularly in infant malformations such as cleft lip and palate, and other malformations involving teeth and bone of the oral cavity,”

Unfortunately Tsuji acknowledged one major problem when it comes to adopting the technique in humans: Scientist have yet to find the cells needed to start the tooth-generation process.

Even so, it might eventually be possible to use a person’s own cells instead of using cells from embryos, Tsuji said.

As for the future, “many researchers hope our study will be adaptable to a wide variety of organs,” Tsuji added.

The next challenge for scientists will be to figure out how to generate organs that regrown enough connections to become a fully functioning part of the body.

A report on the study appears online in the Aug. 3-7 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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