Japanese scientists grow stem cell tooth

Stem cells have been used to grow a tooth in a mouse kidney

Two days ago, Japanese scientists reported they have grown an entire tooth from stem cells implanted into the kidney of a mouse. A research group led by Professor Takashi Tsuji (Professor in the Research Institute for Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science, and Director of Organ Technologies Inc.) has provided a proof-of-concept for bioengineered mature organ replacement by transplanting a mature bioengineered tooth, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone, into a properly-sized bony hole in the alveolar bone through bone integration by recipient bone remodeling in a murine transplantation model system. Their report can be found online here.

In simple terms, the team grew the tooth from a mouse’s stem cells, which were grown inside a drop of collagen, and placed inside a living mouse’s kidney. The new tooth was then transplanted successfully into another mouse’s jaw.

Speaking on the ABC, Queensland University of Technology cell biologist Dr David Leavesley says creating a fully functional, complex cell tissue is the vital step scientists have been waiting for.

“(The tooth) is the Golden Fleece, or if you like, is the gold at end of rainbow that we’re aiming for,” he said.

Imperial College Structural Ceramics chair Professor Eduardo Saiz says it is an exciting step forward.

“They have been able to recreate in the lab a complete tooth … that’s already a big accomplishment,” he said.

Professor Tsuji says the ultimate goal is to grow livers and kidneys to relieve the world’s shortage of organs for transplants.

Professor Tsuji is a research team member in “Health Labor Sciences Research Grant: Research on Regenerative Medicine for Clinical Application (Domain Leader: Professor Akira Yamaguchi of Tokyo Medical and Dental University)”. This research was collaborated research with Professor Teruko Takano-Yamamoto (Division of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Graduate School of Dentistry, Tohoku University, Japan) and Professor Shohei Kasugai (Oral Implantology and Regenerative Dental Medicine Graduate School, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan).


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