ABOUT DENTAL STEM CELLS
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are 'master cells' in the body that have the potential to differentiate into several types of cell, e.g. blood cells, nerve cells and others. In addition to differentiation, they also serve as an internal repair system of the body. They are first seen during early embryonic development and are also distributed in different parts of the body in an adult.
What are Dental stem cells?
Dental stem cells or Dental Pulp Stem Cells (DPSCs) are adult stem cells found in both, baby teeth (milk teeth of children in the age group of 6 -12 years.) and wisdom teeth in young adults. Studies have shown that DPSCs have the ability to develop into more types of body tissue than other types of stem cells. These cells contain mesenchymal cells, which have been shown to differentiate into bone, neural tissue, dental tissue, cartilage and muscle.
Which disease can be treated using Dental stem cells?
At present, extensive research is being conducted by various brilliant scientists all over the world, with a wide array of diseases, being studied ranging from cancer to heart diseases to regeneration of dental and craniofacial cells. Given the ability of these cells to produce and secrete neurotropic factors, these stem cells may also be beneficial for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and the repair of Motoneurons following injury.
Currently, dental pulp stem cells are being studied for their future potential to:
- To generate a new bone structure for fractures, improper bone formations, weak bones, etc.
- To generate cartilages for conditions like arthritis, etc.
- Repairing damaged heart cells after a heart attack.
- To generate cells present in the nerves and the brain.
- To repair muscles for diseases such as muscle weakness.
- Regenerate liver cells.
I have already banked my child's umbilical cord, why should i now bank his/her dental stem cells?
Dental stem cell banking complements Umbilical cord stem cell banking. Cord blood stem cells are mainly used today to treat blood diseases; however, dental stem cells will be used to treat hard and soft tissue diseases and injuries, such as healing connective tissue, repairing dental tissues, neuronal tissue and bone.
What is unique and advantageous about Dental stem cell banking?
Dental pulp stem cell banking has the following advantages which are one of its kind:
- The time period for banking healthy dental stem cells is wide, since it can be done for children in the age group of 5-12 years and also for adults whose wisdom tooth is to be extracted.
- The extraction of stem cells from the pulp of the tooth is easy, painless, quick, highly efficient, with no ethical complications, as it involves a simple process of collection of the tooth.
- Dental stem cells are non-controversial adult stem cells, unlike embryonic stem cells, the source of which involves ethical issues.
- Dental stem cells have demonstrated interactivity with biomaterials, making them ideal for tissue reconstruction.
- Dental stem cells are expandable and they can be multiplied under controlled conditions.