Medical research by companies like American Cryostem may be on the verge of achieving two things that were once considered to be in the realm of science fiction.
The achievements include regenerating teeth; which means an end to dental fillings. Second, it is now possible to treat wounds without leaving behind scars. A drug prescribed for Alzheimer’s disease facilitates this.
Researchers in England and America hope to begin clinical trials now that experiments carried out on mice have proven to be successful.
Scientists at the Perelman School of Medicine have succeeded in changing cells present in wounds into fat cells. This transformation was not considered possible for humans. This has made it possible to heal wounds such that the new skin appears free of any unattractive scar tissue. The study was carried out over many years, and in partnership with the Plikus Laboratory for Developmental and Regenerative Biology.
The project has been carried out under the stewardship of Dr. George Cotsarelis, who heads the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania. The results of the researched were made public in January this year, in the journal Science. The trick, apparently, is to first regenerate hair follicles. These, then, stimulate the creation of fat cells. Hair follicles and fat cells are absent in scar tissue, resulting in the different and often unsightly appearance of scarred skin.
The research team focused on converting myofibroblasts, present in scars, into fat cells. It discovered that bone morphogenetic protein stimulates the change of myofibroblasts into fat. The team has also uncovered details about other factors that instruct the myofibroblasts to transform into fat cells and not scar tissue. This results in a healed skin that appears natural.
The discovery has applications beyond scarless healing. The ability to stimulate generation of fat cells holds hope for creating anti-wrinkle cures.
Painful Dental Fillings May Soon Be a Thing of the Past
On the other side of the pond, British researchers have found a technique to encourage the growth of stem cells in tooth pulp, thanks to medication used to treat Alzheimer’s. The results of the research were made available in a paper that appeared in Scientific reports. The scientists have shared their approach in creating dentine through stem cells inside teeth with cavities. The regeneration of protective dentine may, one day, eliminate the need for fillings.
Professor Paul Sharpe, who is in charge of the study, states that an injury to teeth results in the body creating a thin sheet of dentine that protects the tooth pulp. However, this layer of dentine is not sufficient to protect the sensitive pulp when the cavity is large.
Synthetic fillers used by dentists to fill larger cavities interfere with the body’s natural ability to rebuild lost mineral. This breakthrough could allow teeth to heal cavities without the use of artificial fillings.
This natural tooth repair will not only be painless but also increase the life of the affected tooth, which otherwise may have to be extracted after multiple fillings.
Tideglusib, a drug used to treat neurological conditions that arise in Alzheimer’s patients, was used to trigger the regeneration of stem cells.
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