Stem Cells Taken From Teeth Can Make Brain-like Cells

May 1, 2014

Image Caption: This is the distinct neuronal-like appearance of a mouse-derived dental pulp stem cell following the induction process. Credit: Dr. Kylie Ellis, University of Adelaide.

University of Adelaide

University of Adelaide researchers have discovered that stem cells taken from teeth can grow to resemble brain cells, suggesting they could one day be used in the brain as a therapy for stroke.

In the Universitys Centre for Stem Cell Research, laboratory studies have shown that stem cells from teeth can develop and form complex networks of brain-like cells. Although these cells havent developed into fully fledged neurons, researchers believe its just a matter of time and the right conditions for it to happen.

Stem cells from teeth have great potential to grow into new brain or nerve cells, and this could potentially assist with treatments of brain disorders, such as stroke, says Dr Kylie Ellis, Commercial Development Manager with the Universitys commercial arm, Adelaide Research & Innovation (ARI).

Dr Ellis conducted this research as part of her Physiology PhD studies at the University, before making the step into commercialization. The results of her work have been published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy.

The reality is, treatment options available to the thousands of stroke patients every year are limited, Dr Ellis says. The primary drug treatment available must be administered within hours of a stroke and many people dont have access within that timeframe, because they often cant seek help for some time after the attack.

Ultimately, we want to be able to use a patients own stem cells for tailor-made brain therapy that doesnt have the host rejection issues commonly associated with cell-based therapies. Another advantage is that dental pulp stem cell therapy may provide a treatment option available months or even years after the stroke has occurred, she says.

Dr Ellis and her colleagues, Professors Simon Koblar, David OCarroll and Stan Gronthos, have been working on a laboratory-based model for actual treatment in humans. As part of this research Dr Ellis found that stem cells derived from teeth developed into cells that closely resembled neurons.

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Stem Cells Taken From Teeth Can Make Brain-like Cells

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