Italian scientists claim to be the first to have succeeded in using implants of dental pulp stem/progenitor cells (DPCs) for autologous oromaxillofacial bone regeneration in humans. Their technique was used to repair bone defects due to wisdom tooth problems in 17 patients.
The procedure and results are reported in European Cells and Materials in a paper titled, “Human Mandible Bone Defect Repair by Grafting of Dental Pulp Stem/Progenitor Cells and Collagen Sponge Biocomplexes.” The researchers suggest that the approach could also be applied to any other area of reconstructive and orthopedic surgery.
The human trial, conducted by Professor Gianpaolo Papaccio, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Second University of Naples, involved the extraction and expansion of DPCs from the maxillary third molars (wisdom teeth) of 17 patients requiring wisdom tooth extraction. The cells were then seeded onto a collagen sponge scaffold. The resulting biocomplex was used to fill in the injury site left by the removed tooth.
X-ray evaluation three months after autologous DPC grafting confirmed that the alveolar bone of treated patients had optimal vertical repair and complete restoration of periodontal tissue back to the second molars. Histological observations also demonstrated the complete regeneration of bone at the injury site. Optimal bone regeneration was evident one year after grafting.
The Naples team conclude that the autologous DPC technique represents a new tool for bone tissue engineering. “ Stem cells represent an easy and natural alternative to repair/regenerate damaged tissues,” they note. “This is essential, especially when bone loss subsequent to degenerative or traumatic diseases cannot be amended through conventional therapies. The procedure is efficient, exhibits low morbidity of the collection site, and is free from diseases incurred by transmission of pathogens. The regeneration process is fast and efficient.”
Dental biobanking company, BioEden, welcomed the achievement, claiming the success “yields a vast number of medical possibilities for dental stem cells and for those people who store them for future use.” BioEden collects, assesses, and cryogenically stores living tooth cells from deciduous baby teeth.
The company holds a global patent for the extraction, cryopreservation, and storage of dental stem cells for medical use. Founded in Austin, TX, BioEden has laboratories in the U.K. (serving Europe) and Thailand (serving South East Asia). Further bases are planned for Russia, Australia, India, and the Middle East.