Wisdom tooth, a source of Stem Cells

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 7:25
Posted in category Tooth

toothIn what might be a landmark discovery, stem cells have been found in wisdom teeth, which are usually discarded by people. This has come as boon for variety of groups, such as orthodontists, researchers, moral practitioners and religious conservatives. The Japanese team that extracted the cells, from the third molars, a.k.a. wisdom tooth, of three volunteers, reported that they contained 20% of these precious cells. This news has come after the revolutionary one that came last year, according to which skin cells also contain the valuable stem cells.

For those who came in late, stem cells can be used to repair any degenerating body part, including vital internal body parts. These cells have the extraordinary capability to adapt themselves into any tissue and repair any ailing body part. Earlier, embryos were the best known sources of these cells, but it was considered unethical to kill an unborn child for researching purposes. But, over the years, many new sources were found for the same, including umbilical cord and bone marrow, even though these adult sources do not have the rich content found in embryonic cells.

The Japanese researchers collaborated with professionals from the U.S.A. and conducted comprehensive experiments on the test subjects. They found out that the soft pulp found in the teeth contained mesenchymal stromal cells, which were like the ones found in bone marrow, but much easily extractable. Their finding has been lauded throughout the world in various circles, but they say that a lot of research needs to be carried out in this regard. The experiments will be pertaining to the conversion of these stem cells into induced pluripotent somatic cells (IPS). IPS can be reprogrammed into the highly sough after embryonic cells, sans the controversies associated with it.

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