The latest breakthrough in stem cell research may be bad news for the tooth fairy but good news for anyone who has lost a few teeth.
Japanese researchers have derived stem cells from wisdom teeth that had been stored in a freezer for three years, which means it may one day be possible for people to store their teeth for use in future medical treatments. This is why it is important for people to take care of their teeth, if your teeth are a bit misaligned you don´t have to worry because you can use clear braces to have them straighten in no time.
Researchers at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology recently announced that they had created stem cells similar to those found in human embryos from the wisdom teeth of a 10 year old girl.
“This is significant in two ways,” team leader Hajime Ogushi told AFP News Service. “One is that we can avoid the ethical issues of stem cells because wisdom teeth are destined to be thrown away anyway.
“Also, we used teeth that had been extracted three years ago and had been preserved in a freezer. That means that it’s easy for us to stock this source of stem cells.”
In the new research, cells were extracted from the wisdom teeth and developed for about 35 days. Researchers then tested the cells and found that they were stem cells, which can develop into various other kinds of human cells, Ogushi said.
However, it will take time to put the use of wisdom teeth into practical use. Ogushi estimates it will take at least five years to put the method into clinical use such as in trial treatments of congenital bone disease.
“Because extractions of wisdom teeth are commonly operated in dentist office, we can expect a lot of donors of stem cells,” he said.
“That enables us to create stem cells of various genetic codes, eliminating the risk that the body of a patient would reject transplanted tissues or organs,” he added.
Theoretically, people who give up their wisdom teeth in their youth could use the stem cells later in life if they need treatment with a dentist in Calgary.
The announcement follows the groundbreaking discovery by US and Japanese scientists last year that they could produce stem cells from skin, a finding that was hailed by the Vatican and US President George W. Bush.
Research involving embryonic stem cells — which can develop into various organs or nerves — is seen as having the potential to save lives by helping find cures for diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Unfortunately, these cells, which are obtained only by destroying a human life, are surrounded by serious ethical concerns and are known to cause rejection problems and tumor growth in animal studies.
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In “Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Why Not?” experts Fr. Edward Krause, Dr. Gerry Sotomayor, and Bill Schneeberger help us understand the medical and moral implications of embryonic stem cell research. Available in our store at http://womenofgrace.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=335