London: Teeth cells could soon be used to fix spinal cord injuries, transforming lives of patients with severe mobility problems, a new study has suggested.
According to The Mirror, the researchers at Nagoya University in Japan put dental pulp stem cells into rats with broken backs and found they regained some movement in their legs.
The pulp stops nerve cells dying, regenerates severed nerves and encourages the growth of other cells that support the spine, the Daily Mail reported.
The scientists said that the pulp can be extracted from the centre of adult wisdom teeth ‘without adverse health effects’.
“We propose that tooth-derived stem cells may be an excellent and practical cellular resource for the treatment of spinal cord injuries,” Dr Mark Bacon, research director at the charity Spinal Research said.
“There are few ethical concerns regarding their clinical use.”
“Within the context of spinal cord injuries, this is a relatively new and under-studied source of stem cells which appears to show remarkably promising results.”
The researchers arrived at the conclusion following the immediate transplanting of cells into the injured area.
“This is not possible in patients, particularly if the cells are to be taken post-injury from the patient and purified.”
“It will therefore be interesting to see how effective these cells are after delayed transplantation,” Dr Bacon added.