Researchers grow teeth from human urine stem cells
Teeth grown from human urine?
Dental lab techs who make crowns, bridges, dentures don’t have to worry about setting aside their machinery and pull out test tubes quite yet, even if scientists in China have found a way to grow new teeth from human urine.
The study, was carried out by the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Healthand funded by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, the Natural Science Foundation of China and the Chinese Academy of Sciences and was published in the Cell Regeneration Journal.
The study was much more complex than the what it seems, as researchers first extracted cells normally discarded in urine and turned them into pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which can then be generated into many different cell types.
These stem cells were then combined with two different types of cells – one that grows enamel and another that grows dentin, cementumand pulp, that were obtained from early stage molar dental tissue (mesenchymal cells) extracted from a group of mice.
The cells were then transplanted into the kidneys of other mice.
The researchers said that after three weeks, 30 percent of the mice had teeth like structures growing in their kidneys.
The tooth-like structure contained dental pulp, dentin, enamel space and enamel organ, however, the new "teeth" were softer than normal, and had only had one-third of the hardness of human teeth.
The research team from China hopes the technique can be developed to replace lost teeth, but warned that much more research will be needed to go into developing the technique before it has the potential for tooth regeneration in humans.
However, some scientists are not convinced that stem cells taken from urine is the best option.
“It is probably one of the worst sources,” Professor Chris Mason, a stem cell scientist at University College London, told the BBC. “There are very few cells in the first place, and the efficiency of turning them into cells is very low. You just wouldn't do it this way.”
In the meantime to avoid dental problems, brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss at least once a day and cut down your consumption of sweets.