Tiny advance in science
RESEARCHERS in Japan have reported a breakthrough in dental science, claiming they have replaced natural teeth in mice with teeth grown in a laboratory dish from single cells.
Takashi Tsuji of the Tokyo University of Science said that they took two kinds of cell – mesenchymal and epithelial cells – that develop into a tooth.
They first grew each cell type separately to make larger numbers and then injected them into collagen, a protein widely used in cosmetic surgery.
The tooth germ grew into a tiny tooth about 1.3mm long. The researchers extracted the incisor from an eight-week-old adult mouse and inserted the bioengineered tooth.
After two weeks, the transplant was found to be growing perfectly, with root, enamel, dental pulp, bone, blood vessel – the same composition and structure as a normal tooth.