Tooth Bank Blog

Tooth Bank Blog


Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Engineered stem cells seek out, kill HIV in living organisms

Expanding on previous research providing proof-of-principal that human stem cells can be genetically engineered into HIV-fighting cells, a team of UCLA researchers have now demonstrated that these cells can actually attack HIV-infected cells in a living organism.
"We believe that this study lays the groundwork for the potential use of this type of an approach in combating HIV infection in infected individuals, in hopes of eradicating the virus from the body,"
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Ontario man’s sight restored with help of stem cells

When Taylor Binns slowly began going blind because of complications with his contact lenses, he started to prepare for living the rest of his life without vision. But an innovative treatment using stem cells has changed all that, and returned to him the gift of sight.

Four years ago, while on a humanitarian work mission to Haiti, Binns developed intense eye pain and increasingly blurry vision. Doctors at home couldn’t figure out what was wrong and, over the next two years, Binns slowly went legally blind, no longer able to drive or read from his textbooks at Queens University, where he was studying commerce.

Doctors finally diagnosed him with a rare eye disease called corneal limbal stem cell deficiency, which was causing the normal cells on Binns’ corneas to be replaced with scar tissue, leading to painful eye ulcers that clouded over his corneas.



Monday, August 18, 2014


Stem cells from teeth can make brain-like cells
University of Adelaide researchers have discovered that stem cells taken from teeth can grow to resemble brain cells, suggesting they could one day be used in the brain as a therapy for stroke.

In the University's Centre for Stem Cell Research, laboratory studies have shown that stem cells from teeth can develop and form complex networks of brain-like cells. 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.

"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," says Dr Kylie Ellis, Commercial Development Manager with the University's commercial arm, Adelaide Research & Innovation (ARI).

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Sunday, August 17, 2014


Harvesting Dental Stem Cells for Future Use 

Harvesting stem cells and other tissues from human bodies and storing them for future procedures may sound like the work of a science fiction author, but scientists and researchers have found that these procedures are far from fictional. In reality, these cells have been proven quite beneficial in the treatment of a mind-blowing list of serious health conditions. From Parkinson’s disease to cancer, stem cell harvesting has been shown to move us closer to the cure.

Stem cell research has shown the most promise when you are able to utilize cells that have been harvested from your own body. But, where are stem cells found, and how can you store yours? Due to the location and the availability of stem cells in our teeth, it isn’t surprising that your oral surgeon may offer you the option of having these cells harvested from your own teeth during your next extraction.

 Just because the wisdom teeth may be unnecessary as a part of your smile, doesn’t mean that these teeth are worthless. Our baby teeth and also our wisdom teeth are known to be significant and valuable sources of the cells that have life-saving potential.

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Will keeping your child's baby teeth save their life one day?

When Kyran Bracken’s six-year-old son, Charlie, loses his first milk tooth, the tooth fairy won’t be getting a look in. Instead, the moment it comes out the tooth will be packaged up and sent to a lab in Cheshire for use in a future health emergency.
‘None of us knows what is round the corner medically for our children, but as a parent, I want to do the best I can to protect their health,’ explains Kyran.
Stem cells are already being used to treat leukaemia and other types of cancers and blood disorders. The hope is they will soon help treat nerve damage, repair cartilage and even cardiac tissue following heart attacks.
The cutting-edge discovery about tooth stem cells was made by chance in 2003 by Dr Songtao Shi, an American stem cell scientist and former paediatric dentist.

His six-year-old daughter decided she wanted him, rather than her mother, to pull out a wobbly tooth. When he glanced at the tooth, he noticed that the pulp - the soft tissue inside it - was still living.
As well as forming new bone cells, the stem cells were also manipulated to form nerve and blood cells.

One advantage of this new source is that extracting the stem cells is painless, because children naturally start losing their milk teeth around six or seven. Another advantage is there’s more than one opportunity to harvest baby teeth stem cells: if one tooth doesn’t yield a good supply, the next one hopefully will.




Cardiac Stem Cell Research

Results from a ground-breaking Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute clinical trial show that an infusion of cardiac stem cells helps damaged hearts regrow healthy muscle.

The first-in-man clinical trial, based on technologies and discoveries made by Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, and led by Raj Makkar, MD, explored the safety of harvesting, growing and giving patients their own cardiac stem cells to repair heart tissue injured by heart attack.
The study’s findings, published in The Lancet, show that heart attack patients who received stem cell treatment demonstrated a significant reduction in the size of the scar left on the heart muscle; this is a pioneering stem cell result, says Marban, who notes the study shows actual regeneration of tissues. With support from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Heart Institute team is now planning future clinical trials to treat advanced heart disease patients with stem cells.

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Unexpected stem cell factories found inside teeth

Development is typically thought to be a one-way street. Stem cells produce cells that mature into specific types, such as the neurons and glia that compose nervous systems, but the reverse isn’t supposed to happen. Yet researchers have now discovered nervous system cells transforming back into stem cells in a very surprising place: inside teeth. This unexpected source of stem cells potentially offers scientists a new starting point from which to grow human tissues for therapeutic or research purposes without using embryos.

"More than just applications within dentistry, this finding can have very broad implications,” says developmental biologist Igor Adameyko of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, who led the new work. "These stem cells could be used for regenerating cartilage and bone as well.”

Researchers knew that the soft "tooth pulp” in the center of teeth contained a small population of mesenchymal stem cells, the type of stem cell that can mature into teeth, bones, and cartilage. But no one had conclusively determined where these stem cells came from. Adameyko figured that if he could trace their development, he might be able to recreate the process in the lab, thereby offering a new way of growing stem cells for tissue regeneration

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