Stem cells from human urine have been successfully used to grow out rudimentary teeth, suggesting that if the technique is developed, it could present scientists with a solution to replace lost teeth, the BBC reported.
The research was carried out by a team of Chinese academics and engineers at the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health and it is not the first similar study that has looked into stem cells. In fact, researchers from all over the world are working on ways to grow new teeth but the obstacles that these techniques have to overcome are numerous.
In this particular research, published in Cell Regeneration Journal, stem cell researchers relied on urine as their main material.
They extracted cells that are usually passed from the body in the urine and harvested them in the laboratory, where they were turned into stem cells. When these cells were mixed, they were implanted into rodents, along with other material from the animals.
Three weeks later, the implanted cells had already formed a tooth-like structure, consisting of dental pulp, dentin and enamel, scientists claimed.
Ideally we would want the teeth to have the same characteristics in shape, size, look like a natural tooth an function a sone too. Further to have the sensation of a tooth including the feel of temperature would be create the best replica. To create all these features will require focus trial, research and development.
So far, the main challenge with these artificially grown teeth is the fact that they are not as hard as natural teeth.
Researchers hope their findings could lead to further research into regeneration of human teeth.
However, some scientists are very sceptical of this method. According to Prof Chris Mason, a stem cell scientist at University College London, urine is one of the worst sources, as it generally contains a low number of stem cells and the risk of contamination is higher than in other sources.
If the studies succeed then this would be be a phenomanal breakthrough for children who may lose their adult teeth via a fall or even if congenitally missing. Adults would, of course, benefit from this treatment but in the meanwhile we have a range of options available for those looking to replace missing teeth.