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Stem Cells from Teeth May Aid Stroke Therapy

May 30, 2014

By Dean George

Everyone knows that healthy teeth are something to smile about, but stem cell researchers are smiling even more after finding that stem cells taken from teeth might one day be converted into brain cells.

stem cells from teeth grow to resemble brain cells

In a breakthrough study, researchers at Australia’s University of Adelaide have shown that stem cells from teeth grow to resemble brain cells, indicating that someday the harvested cells may be used to aid in stroke therapy.

“Stem cells from teeth have great potential to grow into new brain or nerve cells, and this could potentially assist with treatments of brain disorders, such as stroke,” said Dr. Kylie Ellis, Commercial Development Manager with Adelaide Research & Innovation.

Researchers reported in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy that though the cells did not grow into full neurons, they believe that given time and proper conditions, they will. In the study using mice, the team was able to confirm that stem cells taken from teeth can grow and form complex networks of brain-like cells that form complicated networks.

Earlier stem cell research showed that stem cells could differentiate cell types to aid in cardiovascular disease therapy, blood disease treatment and to assist in tissue regeneration. But Dr. Ellis’s team is the first to show the potential of using dental pulp stem cells for neurological treatment like post-stroke therapy as well as other brain disorders.

She said the ultimate goal is to use a patient’s own stem cells for customized brain therapy to avoid host rejection issues. Dental pulp stem cell therapy may also provide treatment options for stroke sufferers for months or even years after a stroke has occurred. Currently drug treatment therapy for stroke must be administered within hours of a stroke to be successful, but many people cannot get treatment that quickly.

Aside from the potential their research holds for stroke therapy, researchers believe the possibility exists to model other brain disorders for laboratory analysis so new treatments can be developed for other diseases and neurological issues.

Source: Medical News Today, adelaide.edu.au, dentistrytoday.com, neurosciencestuff.tumblr.com

Photo source: medind.nic.in


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