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News / October 1, 2013

Scientists hail xerostomia breakthrough

by Guy Hiscott

Fully-functioning replacement salivary and lacrimal (tear) glands have been bioengineered by Japanese scientists.
The breakthrough, headed by Professor Takashi Tsuji of Tokyo University of Science, could potentially bring relief to sufferers of xerostomia.
A paper being published in Nature Communications describes how the researchers successfully engineered the ‘germ’ of a salivary gland that, when transplanted into mice, developed into a mature saliva gland with full function.
The bioengineered submandibular gland produced saliva in response to the administration of pilocarpine and gustatory stimulation by citrate. It also protected against oral bacterial infection and restored normal swallowing in the test mice.
Professor Tsuji hailed the results as a ‘substantial advance’ in the field of organ replacement regenerative therapy, a branch of science devoted to replacing organs damaged by disease, injury or ageing.
More information is available online here.