Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bioengineered Tooth Replacement

The latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has this study on bioengineered tooth replacement, which illustrates the exciting potential of organ replacement in future regenerative therapies. Here is the abstract:

Current approaches to the development of regenerative therapies have been influenced by our understanding of embryonic development, stem cell biology, and tissue engineering technology. The ultimate goal of regenerative therapy is to develop fully functioning bioengineered organs which work in cooperation with surrounding tissues to replace organs that were lost or damaged as a result of disease, injury, or aging. Here, we report a successful fully functioning tooth replacement in an adult mouse achieved through the transplantation of bioengineered tooth germ into the alveolar bone in the lost tooth region. We propose this technology as a model for future organ replacement therapies. The bioengineered tooth, which was erupted and occluded, had the correct tooth structure, hardness of mineralized tissues for mastication, and response to noxious stimulations such as mechanical stress and pain in cooperation with other oral and maxillofacial tissues. This study represents a substantial advance and emphasizes the potential for bioengineered organ replacement in future regenerative therapies.