Scientists `grow` teeth from stem cells

Last Updated: Aug 04, 2009, 00:00 AM IST

London: Scientists in Japan have managed
to grow teeth from stem cells, a development that could make
dentures redundant.

The researchers, from the University of Tokyo, grew a
tooth "germ", a seed-like piece of tissue which contains the
cells and instructions necessary to form a tooth, which they
then transplanted into the jawbones of a mice.

Hormones in the animal`s bodies also reacted to the
transplant and helped the teeth to grow.

"This study demonstrates a technique that could lead
to the development of bioengineered organ replacements,
potentially providing a prelude to the ability to grow new,
fully functional bioengineered organs inside the body from
stem cells or other germ cells," said Professor Takashi Tsuji,
who led the study, reported in the journal Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences.

The technique could also be adapted to other organs,
allowing hearts, lungs and kidneys to be grown inside the body
to replace parts worn by age or damaged by disease, the Daily
Telegraph reported today.

Even though the technology is still at a very early
stage, the pioneering research promises to end the use of
false teeth, bridges or synthetic implants, it said.

Bureau Report