Skip to content
News / August 3, 2012

Stem cell study spells bright future for dentistry

by Guy Hiscott

Complex dentistry could be the latest field to benefit from stem cell research if a ground-breaking study is to be believed.

US researchers have found that using stem cells to regrow craniofacial tissues is both quicker and more effective than traditional bone regeneration techniques in large jawbone reconstruction cases.

The results come from the first human study of its kind, carried out at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and Michigan Center for Oral Health Research in partnership with Aastrom Biosciences.

The clinical trials centred on patients who needed jawbone reconstruction following tooth removal. Patients who received experimental tissue repair cells had greater bone density and required less secondary grafting than the patients who underwent traditional guided bone regeneration therapy.

The approach is best suited to large defects such as those resulting from trauma, diseases or birth defects, said Darnell Kaigler, principal investigator and assistant professor at the Michigan School of Dentistry. These defects are very complex because they involve several different tissue types-bone, skin, gum tissue-and are very challenging to treat.

The main advantage to the stem cell therapy is that it uses the patient’s own cells to regenerate tissues, rather than introducing man-made, foreign materials, Kaigler added.

The full study will appear later this month in the journal Cell Transplantation.