Tooth stem cells have incredible capabilities and potentially unlimited healing powers.
But just as cord blood stem cells have been largely used to treat childhood disease, and bone marrow stem cells used to treat diseases of the bone marrow, studies on tooth-derived stem cells have long been focused on dental issues.
This tendency to use stem cells according to the location from which they are isolated makes a lot of sense—cells tend to be of a particular type, with specific functions, lending themselves to treating problems of that area. For example, haematopoietic stem cells found in umbilical cord blood are adapted to treating different kinds of problems in the blood, such as anaemia, cancer and immune deficiencies.
However, this also means the majority of research on stem cells tends to be limited to their area of origin; it’s the reason why, in the past, tooth stem cell research has largely been directed towards tooth repair and regeneration.
But this is all changing. And driving these changes is a particular type of stem cell – mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which have the remarkable ability to give rise to any cell type in the body – meaning they holds the potential for therapeutic application way beyond its source, and could treat anything from neurological and blood disease, to bone and muscle disease.
In 2015 the most cited stem cells within scientific literature, hematopoietic, were overtaken by MSCs—which continue to move ahead at a staggering rate.
So no matter where they are found, mesenchymal cells have the inherent capability to treat a wide number of diseases of the body. And there is the one source in particular which is much superior than any other: our teeth.
The Little Building Blocks Of Life In Our Teeth
The youngest of all stem cell sources in terms of date of discovery and research, our teeth are now known as a particularly rich source of MSCs.
And thanks to their ease of accessibility—they can be extracted from baby teeth, wisdom teeth, or even damaged or removed teeth—they are quickly being considered the best all-round source of autologous (from your own body) MSC stem cells.
But because this was a relatively recent discovery—unlike bone marrow and cord blood—there is little in the way of tooth stem cells from donors to fuel research studies.
However, as of today, and outside of dental applications, MSC stem cells from teeth are already being considered the best candidates for bone regeneration—proving effective in jaw and skull repair—and are amongst the strongest candidates for a source of neural stem cells—having demonstrated their power in vitro against models of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
With studies of MSC stem cells from other sources (e.g. bone marrow) having proved to be effective in treating and even reversing a wide range of disease and illness, it’s only a matter of time before the research into tooth-derived stem cells matures. As more people become aware of it, the donor lists will grow, and we hope to see even more outstanding results.
The future of stem cell banking is already here. Contact us today to find out how we can help you safeguard your children’s health by banking stem cells from milk teeth.