Stem cells from teeth can develop and form complex networks of brain-like cells, according to laboratory studies undertaken at the University of Adelaide's Centre for Stem Cell Research.1
Although these cells haven't developed into fully fledged neurons, researchers believe it's just a matter of time and the right conditions for it to happen.
Dr Kylie Ellis, Commercial Development Manager with Adelaide Research & Innovation, who conducted the research as part of her physiology PhD, said: '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. Ultimately, we want to be able to use a patient's own stem cells for tailor-made brain therapy that doesn't have the host rejection issues commonly associated with cell-based therapies. Another advantage is that dental pulp stem cell therapy may provide a treatment option available months or even years after [a] stroke has occurred.'
This work with dental pulp stem cells opens up the potential for modelling many more common brain disorders in the laboratory, which could help in developing new treatments and techniques for patients.
Ellis K M, O'Carroll D C, Lewis M D, Rychkov G Y, Koblar S A . Neurogenic potential of dental pulp stem cells isolated from murine incisors. Stem Cell Res Ther 2014; 5: 30 [Epub ahead of print].
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Dental stem cells may assist stroke patients. Br Dent J 216, 612 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2014.469