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Medicine Science

Finnish Patient Gets New Jaw from His Own Stem Cells 141

Posted by Soulskill
from the close-the-organ-banks dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news out of Finland, where a patient's upper jaw was replaced with bone cultivated from stem cells and grown inside the patient himself. We discussed other advances in stem cell research a few months ago. Quoting: "In this case they identified and pulled out cells called mesenchymal stem cells -- immature cells than can give rise to bone, muscle or blood vessels. When they had enough cells to work with, they attached them to a scaffold made out of a calcium phosphate biomaterial and then put it inside the patient's abdomen to grow for nine months. The cells turned into a variety of tissues and even produced blood vessels, the researchers said."
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Finnish Patient Gets New Jaw from His Own Stem Cells

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  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Sunday February 03, 2008 @11:25AM (#22282194) Homepage Journal
    I have a mandibular excess and a maxillary deficiency (meaning my jawbone is too big and my upper face area is too small), which leads me to grind my teeth, get some major TMJ pain, and end up with ruined and crooked teeth. I've looked at all the surgeries (major, like taking your jaw OUT of your mouth entirely), and they didn't seem worth the risk. The long term problem is I'll lose all my teeth. I was the freak with the toothbrush in school, who flossed and brushed and rinsed 3 times a day. Today I'm the root canal and filling king, because of the jaw issue.

    When stem cells are available to regrow teeth, it will take off. The problem is that I expect the ADA (that's the lobbying group to keep dentists expensive and rare, like the AMA is a lobbying group to reduce the supply of doctors and rape the patients' wallets) will fight it tooth and nail. They'll do it under a mask of "religion" by a group controlled by them, but it will happen.

    Here, again, we see a market phenomenon that will either be over-regulated by the government so that it takes too long and is too expensive to bring to market, or we'll see a complete destruction of a huge opportunity to fix problems. I am willing to take a risk to deal with the teeth issue today, and I'm probably going to have to do it in India or China because I know that we won't get any favor here if it competes with the strong lobbying cartels, like the crooked dentists (or the doctors, or the CPAs, or any number of groups who have "associations" to harm consumers with bad legislation).
  • by GrievousMistake (880829) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @12:30PM (#22282652)
    Where on earth do you have it from that fluoride weakens teeth? I've never heard anything like that. What I learned from chemistry is that fluoride strengthens the enamel.
    Besides, everyone knows the fluoridation of water is a commie plot to impurify our precious bodily fluids.
  • any pics? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WormholeFiend (674934) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @01:05PM (#22282892)
    Of the proto-jaw as it's taken out of the abdomen?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 03, 2008 @01:52PM (#22283238)
    The debate is centered on ethics. Most of the facts aren't in dispute, they just get ignored.

    The facts simply aren't reasonably in dispute. We all know that a zygote is an immature homo sapien. We know that it doesn't have brain function until considerably later and isn't communicative until well after it's born. So the debate is whether or not that's the same sort of "human" that belongs in the term "human rights." That is, whether it is our intelligence or our humanity that makes us somehow worthy of the rights we all recognize.

    This is the CORE of the debate, not something that can be dispensed with as a side issue. It doesn't matter if that's why someone is destroying embryos, the people who believe it's human life oppose it because they believe it's human life. There simply isn't a way around that! You're asking them to discuss why they oppose it while leaving out the main reason! Sure, there might be some people who oppose it due to other reasons (squeamishness, fear of science, or whatever), but there aren't too many of those. Then you go on to talk about the "waste" embryos as if those who oppose destroying them aren't opposed to the processes which leave them as waste! Did you not read the story yesterday with the Pope of all people condemning those very things?

    Worse, you go on to illegal immigration and you again miss the entire point of the opposition's argument! They're against the laws as written, so of course they don't want to enforce them any more than your average Slashdotter thinks the NFL ought to be able to enforce the ban on TV screens over 56 inches which is also written into law. But you've probably never been through immigration, so you don't have much of an idea how byzantine it is. Nor would you know that the agency has been almost completely defunded so that they can't process your case in a reasonable amount of time. And God help you if they screw up at any point. Hell, they've deported American citizens caught in raids, taking months to review the case even when presented with a valid US birth certificate!

    So when you say that the opposition's case "isn't based on facts" I'm hearing that you don't really understand the opposition's case. Because that's what you're showing me. Believe it or not, I'm NOT ignorant of what a zygote or blastocyst is. I know the difference between pluripotent and multipotent stem cells, as well as the rationale behind the use of each. I even know a little about immigration law, despite being a US citizen who hasn't had to suffer going through it.

    You? You can't even state the opponent's case in a reasonable manner. Believe it or not, I can engage in calm and rational debate. I won't throw out my case as a prerequisite, though, nor will I agree to the stipulation that the facts "aren't" on my side simply because you disagree with my interpretation of them. But I won't yell and scream at you when I ask you to pin down exactly what makes a human "human."

    I don't have to. All I have to do is extend your "logic" to its breaking points. Given your display of the ignorance of our arguments, you don't seem to understand that your blind spot is a mile wide.
  • Uhh (Score:1, Interesting)

    by icsx (1107185) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @11:24PM (#22287112)
    "The cells turned into a variety of tissues and even produced blood vessels, the researchers said." It's called cancer. Who knows what will happen to this patient in the future. There just isn't enough research about this matter yet.
  • by zippthorne (748122) on Monday February 04, 2008 @12:26PM (#22292682) Journal
    If he was willing to give money freely to that cause, he wouldn't need to be taxed for it, would he? Of course, we'll never really know, since the tax was most likely implemented before he had any say in it, anyway.

    I'll never understand why people vote with their fingers what they're not willing to vote for with their wallets.

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