A collaboration of scientists in the United States announces the development of a new approach for improving dental health among patients who need bone implants. According to the experts, soaking sponges in stem cells, and then applying them to the mouth, promote bone growth effectively.
The approach was tested on patients who had open wounds in the oral cavity. The sponges were inserted where the damaged teeth should have been, and took hold very effectively. The bone tissue was regenerated faster than possible with bone grafts.
Additionally, the newly formed bone tissue was able to support the implantation of fake teeth. This opens up the way for new treatments, addressing a wide variety of conditions affecting the teeth, gums and underlying bone.
The new experiments represented the first time such a clinical trial was conducted on humans. There are significant advantages to using stem cells, the research team explains, including faster and more effective bone growth, and a reduced level of invasiveness.
This therapeutic approach was developed by experts at the University of Michigan
(U-M) School of Dentistry and the Michigan Center for Oral Health Research. The team worked closely with colleagues at the Ann Arbor-based Aastrom Biosciences Inc.
All of the 24 patients in the clinical trial were in need of jawbone reconstruction procedures, following tooth removal. They were divided into two groups, one that received the stem cell-based therapy, and another that was treated using standard, guided bone regeneration therapy.
Aastrom, a spinout from U-M, is currently developing the advanced tissue repair cells, called ixmyelocel-T. In the future, the company plans to use similar cells to address other types of tissues in the mouth and on the human face.
“In patients with jawbone deficiencies who also have missing teeth, it is very difficult to replace the missing teeth so that they look and function naturally,” research scientist Darnell Kaigler explains.
“This technology and approach could potentially be used to restore areas of bone loss so that missing teeth can be replaced with dental implants,” concludes the expert, an assistant professor at the U-M School of Dentistry, and the principal investigator of the new research.