Saving Teeth for their Future

Article by Safa’ Faza’ for Biomed Middle East

Stem cells are cells found in most, if not all, multi-cellular organisms. They are characterized by the ability to renew themselves through mitotic cell division and differentiating into a diverse range of specialized cell types. Research in the stem cell field grew out of findings by Canadian scientists Ernest A. McCulloch and James E. Till in the 1960s. The two broad types of mammalian stem cells are: embryonic stem cells that are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocyts, and adult stem cells that are found in adult tissues.

In a developing embryo, stem cells can differentiate into all of the specialized embryonic tissues. In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing specialized cells, but also maintain the normal turnover of regenerative organs, such as blood, skin, or intestinal tissues.

Stem cell treatments are a type of genetic medicine that introduces new cells into damaged tissue in order to treat a disease or injury. Many medical researchers believe that stem cell treatments have the potential to change the face of human disease and alleviate suffering. The ability of stem cells to self-renew and give rise to subsequent generations that can differentiate offers a large potential to culture tissues that can replace diseased and damaged tissues in the body, without the risk of rejection and side effects

In 2003, scientists have identified Mesenchymal type cells inside Dental Pulp, the soft living tissue in the center of each tooth. This is believed that these types of cells have the future potential to differentiate into a variety of other cell types:

• Myocytes to repair muscle.
• Osteoblasts to generate bone.
• Cardio Myocytes to repair damaged cardiac tissue following a heart attack.
• Chondrocytes to generate cartilage.
• Adipocytes to generate fat tissue.
• Bone and tissue from oral cavity.
• Neuronal to generate nerve and brain tissue.

The stem cells extracted from the pulp of baby teeth – which appear from the age of about six months and fall out when children are between six and 13 years old- generally contains a range of valuable adult stem cells including:

• Mesenchymal stem cells
• Adipocytes
• Osteoblasts
• Chondrocytes

How this is done?

1. The Baby tooth, also called milk or a deciduous tooth, falls out naturally and it is taken to the dentist.
2. Tooth is sent to Laboratory to isolate and examine stem cells.
3. The cells then processed and stored in their natural state for autologous use only.

Now in Jordan we have new companies that provide this new method. You just need to go to your dentist when your child loses his or her milk tooth. After that they will isolate the cells from the dental pulp and preserved it under the right conditions to be sent to Stem Cells Banks in US or UK