Stem Cells Basics > Current and Emerging Applications

Current and Emerging Applications

Adult stem cells from bone marrow and umbilical cord blood have been used for decades to treat patients for dozens of diseases, most notably leukemia and other blood-related conditions.

View current applications – List

Potential clinical applications with dental stem cells

Prolife Biobank enables families to collect and save the stem cells in your loved child's teeth. Dental stem cells are readily available from exfoliating deciduous teeth, extracted wisdom teeth or any teeth pulled for orthodontia. Dental stem cells have the potential to be used in both dental and medical applications, and have already been shown to regenerate jaw bone and treat periodontal disease in humans. Similar to cord blood stem cells (which have been used to treat leukemia and blood-related cancers), dental stem cells are being studied by researchers to see how they could someday play a role in treating conditions such as diabetes, spinal cord injury, stroke, heart attack and neurological diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

• Diabetes
• Spinal cord injury
• Motor-Neuron
• Stroke
• Heart attacks
• Liver disease
• Cornea repair
• Parkinson's disease
• Alzheimer's

Dental stem cells are being studied as a way to help treat a number of medical diseases and conditions.

Adult stem cells from teeth have been used to successfully grow jawbone and treat periodontal disease in people.

New hope of a potential cure for Diabetes

A recent study published in the Journal of Dental Research showed that stem cells from teeth can produce insulin in a glucose responsive manner – early research which means dental stem cells might one day play a role in treating type 1 diabetes.

What's new and noteworthy is that this study involved stem cells from baby teeth - taken out during routine dental care of children, age 7-11 years old. Here are some key takeaways:
  • The study used stem cells from children's baby teeth to create islet-like cell aggregates that produced insulin in a glucose-dependent manner, a first step towards a potential cure for type 1 diabetes.
  • This is the first time this has been done with stem cells from teeth. Stem cells can be preserved from any healthy tooth – each child loses all 20 of their baby teeth naturally, and may later have teeth taken out for braces, or wisdom teeth extracted.
  • According to the researchers, this finding might enable "cell replacement for type 1 diabetes... by autologous transplantation of islet-like cell aggregates differentiated from a patient's own teeth." In simpler terms, this means a patient's own dental stem cells might be able to be used to create pancreatic islet cells that produce insulin, which might be able to then be transplanted into that individual, eliminating the need for the immunosuppressive medications necessary when a donor's cells are used for transplant.

Back to Top ↑

Studies Show Promise that Dental Stem Cells May Someday Treat Spinal Cord Injury

Researchers at Nagoya University in Japan were able to repair spinal cord injury with dental stem cells in a rat model.

According to the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, rats with broken backs regained movement in their hind legs following a procedure where human dental pulp stem cells were transplanted into their spinal cord tissue.

The researchers found that rats treated with stem cells from teeth – both wisdom teeth and baby teeth – had significantly better recovery than those treated with bone marrow stem cells or those left untreated, with some mobility restored to the hind legs where they had none before.

Dental pulp stem cells (extracted from both baby teeth and wisdom teeth) appeared to work in 3 ways:
  • They stopped the nerve cells from dying
  • They helped regenerate the severed nerves
  • They promoted the growth of other cells that support the spinal cord

Related Articles:

Dental Tribune | Dec 5, 2011
"Dental researchers bite into spinal cord injury rehab"

Dentistry Today | Dec 5, 2011
"Dental Cells May Help Aid Spinal Injuries"

Back to Top ↑

  Stem Cell Basics  
  The Science of Stem Cells  
  Dental Stem Cells