Ophthalmologists James L Funderburgh, Ph.D. and Fatima Syed-Picard, Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh have devised a method for treating corneal blindness by utilizing dental pulp stem cells. The researchers harvested the stem cells from molars discarded during routine extraction and induced the cells to differentiate into keratocytes [corneal cells]. They then seeded the cells onto a nanofiber scaffold, allowing them to grow into fully developed, functional corneas capable of restoring eyesight. Continue reading
Scientists led by Dr. Craig Mello of The University of Massachusetts have developed a genetic tool – CRISPR [clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats] – to revolutionize the way stem cells are applied to treat genetic diseases, such as sickle cell or thalassemia. CRISPR aims to expedite and improve upon the process of translational genomics, in which the patient’s stem cells are extracted, altered to repair the damaged gene, and then transplanted back to the patient. Continue reading
Today, stem cells are rightfully perceived as the future of regenerative medicine, set to bring the marvels of science fiction into reality. But in looking ahead at all of the promise that stem cells hold for the future, it becomes easy to miss the scientific advances made to date for the millions of people around the world suffering from disease, trauma, and injury. Thus, today marks Stem Cell Awareness Day: a global celebration of stem cell research coordinated to highlight the treatments and therapies currently in development to create personalized regenerative therapies for patients. Continue reading
Researchers at the Wyss Institute and Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a self-shrinking gel that, when loaded with mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs], stimulates their ability to differentiate into teeth, bones, and organs in vivo [in the patient’s body]. The gel is designed to spontaneously compress at 37°C [the temperature of the human body], which places the physical pressure required to trigger the stem cells’ proliferative properties while inside the patient’s body. Continue reading
Researchers at the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research have developed a method of utilizing autologous [the patient’s own] dental stem cells to regenerate damaged or decayed teeth. In an animal model, as well as human cells in vitro [in a lab], the scientists treated the damaged teeth with low-intensity lasers, which prompted the stem cells located in the dental pulp to differentiate and grow into new, healthy dentin tissue. Continue reading
In an early stage study recently carried out by the Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Center (IKDRC), a treatment developed by the IKDRC utilizing Insulin Secreting Cells (ISC), derived from the patient’s own mesenchymal stem cells, shows that the need for insulin doses decreased by an average of 50% when the ISCs were implanted in patients.
Scientists at the University of California Davis’ Institute for Regenerative Cures are utilizing mesenchymal stem cells [the same type of stem cells found in teeth] to develop a new therapy that targets the genetic abnormality in Huntington’s disease. The principal investigator of the study, and the director of UC Davis stem cell program and the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures, Jan Nolta said, “Our team has made a breakthrough that gives families affected by this disease hope that genetic therapy may one day become a reality.” The treatment seeks to address the root cause of the disease as opposed to merely mitigating the symptoms of the disease.
Utilizing dental pulp stem cells, researchers at Japan’s National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology have developed a stem cell treatment for tooth decay by restoring a tooth’s structure and function. In the study, involving canine subjects, researchers utilized the dog’s own dental pulp stem cells to repair damaged and compromised teeth. Given the success of the study, researchers have initiated clinical [human] trials.
- Bone scaffolds
Researchers from University of Nottingham in England had their 3D printing technology on display last week at the Royal Society’s annual Summer Science Exhibition. This technology is being used to create custom-fitted bone replacements and other body parts.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported on current research involving dental pulp stem cells [DPSC]. Researchers worldwide, including StemSave’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Dr. Jeremy Mao of Columbia University, are making advances in restoring tooth tissue and regenerating entire teeth using dental pulp stem cells. Current studies are in the animal model stage but researchers anticipate entering human clinical trials in the near future.