Scientists are step closer to making teeth from scratch after 'hybrid tooth' is made in mouse's mouth

 

Science Editor

Scientists have taken a step closer to growing human teeth from scratch using cells taken from a patient’s mouth. They envisage that missing or diseased teeth could one day be replaced by freshly-grown, living teeth.

A “hybrid” tooth made from a mixture of human gum cells and mouse embryonic cells has been grown in laboratory mice to test a method that might in the future be adapted to become an alternative to dental implants.

Researchers believe that growing bioengineered teeth from a patient’s own cells could revolutionise dentistry, which in recent years has focussed on replacing damaged or missing teeth with porcelain crowns attached to metal implants inserted into the jaw.

“The idea is to identify cells that you can put together and will grow into an immature tooth, which will develop into a mature tooth after it is inserted into the patient’s mouth,” said Professor Paul Sharpe of King's College London

The “bio-tooth” produced by mixing human gum cells with embryonic mouse cells formed viable roots with good periodontal ligaments which normally anchor healthy teeth to the jawbone, Professor Sharpe said.

As well as anchoring teeth, the periodontal ligaments act as shock absorbers during chewing. Metal implants are rigidly fixed to the bone and do not have shock absorbers, which can damage the jawbone over time, he said.

The study, published in the Journal of Dental Research, is the first demonstration of a bio-tooth grown by combining a human gum cells with embryonic cells of a mouse.

The gum cells were epithelial cells, which formed the outer hard enamel of a tooth, while the mouse cells were mesenchymal cells, which form the inner dentine and tooth pulp, Professor Sharpe said.

The hybrid tooth could never be used in human transplant dentistry because it contains animal-derived material. It was only created to demonstrate that the procedure can produce a viable tooth, he added.

The next step is to identify a source of mesenchymal cells in the patient that could be combined with epithelial cells to make a pure-human immature tooth which can then be transplanted into the patient’s jaw as a living replacement for a lost tooth, he said.

“I see this as a step forward on what has been done before. It is an advance, and these cells work when put together in this way but we need to find a source of human mesenchymal cells,” Professor Sharpe said.

“Mesenchymal cells are essential and you need to grow them in large quantities. Once we get them, then everything else will be in place and we can begin to translate this into clinical practice,” he said.

“What is required is the identification of adult sources of human epithelial and mesenchymal cells that can be obtained in sufficient numbers to make biotooth formation a viable alternative to dental implants,” Professor Sharpe added.

The hybrid bio-teeth were grown in the kidneys of laboratory mice to demonstrate that they can develop normally. They look much like ordinary teeth, with good roots and periodontal ligaments, Professor Sharpe said.

“The primary objective is to make a root with good periodontal ligaments. The rest of the tooth is really irrelevant as that can be dealt with by crowns,” he said.

Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tulisa as a judge on the X Factor in 2012
tvLouis Walsh confirms star's return
Life and Style
fashionClothes shop opens on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Analyst - Graduate - 6 Month fixed term contract

£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

Project Manager - Pensions

£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

Project Coordinator - Cisco Partner - £110 p/d

£110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator (SC Cleared), Cisco Go...

KYC Analyst, Birmingham - £200-£250 p/d

£200 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: KYC Analyst, Key Banking Client, Bi...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone