Spinal injury victims could be treated using TEETH, say scientists
Spinal cord injury victims could be helped to walk again by teeth, say scientists.
Researchers put dental pulp stem cells into rats with broken backs and found they regained some movement in their legs.
The study by Nagoya University in Japan could transform the lives of patients with severe mobility problems, a report in The Mirror revealed.
Smiles better: Dental pulp from teeth was shown to help mobility in rats with broken backs
The pulp stops nerve cells dying, regenerates severed nerves and encourages the growth of other cells that support the spine.
It can be extracted from the centre of adult wisdom teeth “without adverse health effects”, said the scientists.
New hope: The research could transform the lives of patients with severe mobility problems
“We propose that tooth-derived stem cellsmay be an excellent and practical cellular resource for the treatment of spinal cord injuries,” the report added. “There are few ethical concerns regarding their clinical use.”
Dr Mark Bacon, research director at the charity Spinal Research, said: “Within the context of spinal cord injuries, this is a relatively new and under-studied source of stemcells which appears to show remarkably promising results.”
The results had been achieved following the immediate transplanting of the cells into the injured area, Dr Bacon told the newspaper.
He warned: “This is not possible in patients, particularly if the cells are to be taken post-injury from the patient and purified.
“It will therefore be interesting to see how effective these cells are after delayed transplantation.”
Alex Rankin, of spinal injury charity Aspire, said: “We are excited by the prospect of a cure being found for spinal cord injuries through the use of dental pulp stem cells.
“But even once a cure has been identified it will take considerable time before it is put into practicefor every one of the 1,200 people who will be injured in the UK this year and the 40,000 people already living with spinal cord injuries.”