Data from recent clinical trial out of the University of Pennsylvania suggest that the use of stem cells from a patient’s baby teeth could be used to help regrow dental pulp tissue.
Results from the trial, which was conducted in China, were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
In the trial, 40 children were selected who had injured a permanent incisor but still had baby teeth, with 30 assigned to the experimental treatment and 10 to the controlled treatment with the standard of care, apexification.
The stem cells, officially known as human deciduous pulp stem cells (hDPSC), are extracted from healthy baby teeth and allowed to reproduce in a lab culture. The resulting cells from the culture are then implanted into an injured tooth, according to a press release.
Patients treated with the hDPSC showed more signs of healthy root development, thicker dentin and increased blood flow. After one year, some patients who had received the hDPSCs had regained sensation in the tooth, while none of the traditionally treated patients had.
Trial researchers also said they found no safety concerns related to immune-system components.
Investigators are now beginning to test the use of cells donated from another person to regenerate dental tissues in adults, and are hopeful they will secure FDA approval to conduct a trial using hDPSCs in the US.
“The results are very exciting. To see something we discovered take a step forward to potentially become a routine therapy is gratifying,” clinical trial lead Songtao Shi of U Penn’s Dental Medicine school said in a press release.
Researchers are hopeful that future use of hDPSCs could include treatment for systemic disease, including lupus.