Scientists in Japan have managed to grow teeth from stem cells, a development that could make dentures redundant.
The researchers, from the University of Tokyo, succeeded in growing a tooth “germ”, a seed-like piece of tissue which contains the cells and instructions necessary to form a tooth, which they then transplanted into the jawbones of a mice.
Hormones in the animal’s bodies also reacted to the transplant and helped the teeth to grow.
“This study demonstrates a technique that could lead to the development of bioengineered organ replacements, potentially providing a prelude to the ability to grow new, fully functional bioengineered organs inside the body from stem cells or other germ cells,” said Takashi Tsuji, who led the study, reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The technique could also be adapted to other organs, allowing hearts, lungs and kidneys to be grown inside the body to replace parts worn by age or damaged by disease, the Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday.