Aditi Goel, The Hush Post: In the recent times, it has been common to preserve stem cells of the new-born babies through the umbilical cord for its use in future. The cells have the capability to differentiate and regenerate into different type of body cells and possess the potential in treating life threatening diseases. The current generation might be fortunate enough to avail this facility but guess who is luckier? They are the grown-ups who still have a chance to preserve their stem cells. Wonder how! Through dental stem cells this preservation is possible.
Stem cell research has expanded at an exponential rate, though its therapeutic applications progress at a slower phase. Stem cell biology has become an important field in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering therapy since the discovery and characterisation of mesenchymal stem cells (the ones which can proliferate into any type of stem cells) are relatively easily obtainable and exhibit high plasticity and multipotential capabilities. The dental stem cells represent a gold standard for neural-crest-derived bone reconstruction in humans and can be used for the repair of body defects in low-risk autologous therapeutic strategies.
The bio-engineering technologies developed for tooth regeneration will make substantial contributions to understand the developmental process and will encourage future organ replacement by regenerative therapies in a wide variety of organs such as the liver, kidney, and heart. Stem cell populations include dental pulp stem cells, stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth, stem cells from apical papilla, dental follicle progenitor cells, and periodontal ligament stem cells.
Why dental stem cells?
- One of the best sources- a child’s milk tooth is one of the best sources from which to collect dental stem cells. The process is non-invasive and almost painless.
- ‘Plastic’ nature of cells- can differentiate into other types of tissue such as muscle, neurons, bone, organs, insulin-producing cells, skin, cartilage, etc.
- Virtually no Rejection – Saving your own stem cells from your teeth (autologous tissue) – once reintroduced into the body during a treatment, they will not be rejected as foreign tissue, since the body recognises them as their own. Virtually eliminates the chance of rejection and the need for immune-suppressant drugs.
Easy and convenient to collect – Dental stem cells can be recovered and banked conveniently and affordably during routine dental procedures.
How the stem cells are collected??
- Tooth collection done by dentist taking care to ensure dental pulp is intact.
- Specially formulated preservative medium ensures sterility of dental pulp.
- Trained para-medics collect blood sample for serological testing.
- Collected tooth is transported in a specially designed dental sampling kit to ensure controlled temperatures maintained.
- At the lab, quality control tests are done to confirm presence of mesenchymal stem cells & their viability, serology and sterility tests also done.
- Viable dental stem cells cryopreserved at -196 degrees Celsius in liquid nitrogen.
- Preservation certificate is handed over to customer.
Dr Simran Sidhu, pedodontist and child dental specialist of Krowns Dental Care, Ludhiana said, “We have recently collaborated with Stemade for preservation of dental stem cells. It’s a simple procedure where in the person concerned is enrolled with Stemade. After enrolling, the tooth is collected by us, which is further cryopreserved at the respective lab based in Chennai. Upon identification of viable dental stem cells, a preservation certificate is sent to the individual.” “This certificate must be stored and produced at the time of reclaiming the dental stem cells.” she added.
To this, Dr Nikhil Kalra, prosthodontist and implantologist of Krowns Dental Care added, “Stem cell therapy represents a fascinating new approach for the repair of defective tissues or functions through the transplantation of live cells. However, multiple key parameters need to be optimised through clinical research such as the required stem cell density and availability, as well as appropriate strategies, for their use. Since stem cell technology is still in its infancy, interdisciplinary cooperation is needed to achieve successful clinical applications.”