Columbia University announces break-through in tooth regeneration


by Daniel Zimmerman

Dental implants could soon become a secondary choice for replacing
natural teeth. According to new research from the College of Dental
Medicine at Columbia University in New York, three-dimensional scaffolds
infused with stem cells could yield an anatomically correct tooth in as
soon as nine weeks once implanted. The new technique, developed by
Columbia University professor Jeremy Mao, has also shown potential to
regenerate periodontal ligaments and alveolar bone, which could make way
to re-grow natural teeth that fully integrate into the surrounding

Previous research on tooth regeneration has
been focusing on harvesting stem cells directly on dental implants to
improve osseointegration or outside the body where the tooth is grown
under laboratory conditions and implanted once it has matured. Mao’s
technique, which has been tested on animal-models, is moving the
harvesting process directly into the socket where the tooth can be grown

“A key consideration in tooth regeneration is finding a
cost-effective approach that can translate into therapies for patients
who cannot afford or who aren’t good candidates for dental implants,” Dr
Mao told Dental Tribune Asia Pacific. “Our findings represent the first
report of regeneration of anatomically shaped tooth-like structures in

Dr Mao’s study has been published in the recent Journal of Dental
Research and will be presented at this year’s International Association
of Dental Research congress in Barcelona. Columbia has also announced to
have filed patient applications in relation to the engineered tooth and
is actively seeking partners to help commercialise the technology
through its technology transfer office Columbia Technology Ventures.

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