Pioneering research sees scientists look at ‘growing third teeth’ to replace dentures and implants
Dentures and implants could soon be a thing of the past following groundbreaking research by Polish scientists.
The team from Poznań, Warsaw and Toruń are carrying out research into growing ‘third teeth’ based on stem cells found in human gums.
Known as tissue engineering, the in vitro process uses substitutes for tissues or even entire organs.
Project leader Agnieszka Gadomska-Gajadhur from the Faculty of Chemistry at the Warsaw University of Technology said: "If we succeed, we will be able to produce tooth buds from the cells from our own gums, rebuild the structure of the peripheral nerves for those who need a transplant, or cartilage, for example for athletes who have suffered serious joint injuries.
“In the areas after tooth extraction, even large-scale bone defects and the deficiencies of soft tissues are rebuilt, except for the tooth, of course.
Moreover, healing in the oral cavity often takes place without scar formation.”
She added: “At the beginning, we take fragments of the gums. At the moment, these are pigs' gums because we have not been able to access the right amount of human material, but in the future it will be the gum of the person for whom the implant is to be created.
“However, this is not a problem, because the pig is genetically very similar to humans.
“This is pioneering research. Nobody has tried to do what we are doing yet.”
Such tissue could also be used for transplants of peripheral nerves or in spinal cord transplants in paralysed people, according to Gadomska-Gajadhur. Cartilage can also be successfully grown under laboratory conditions. “
The work is being carried out by scientists from the Warsaw University of Technology, the Medical University of Poznań and the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń as part of the SteamScaf research project.