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Biotech Medicine

Using Wisdom Teeth To Make Stem Cells 82

An anonymous reader writes "For most people, wisdom teeth are not much more than an annoyance that eventually needs to be removed. However, a new study appearing in the September 17 Journal of Biological Chemistry shows that wisdom teeth contain a valuable reservoir of tissue for the creation of stem cells; thus, everyone might be carrying around his or her own personal stem-cell repository should he or she ever need some. Groundbreaking research back in 2006 revealed that inducing the activity of four genes in adult cells could 'reprogram' them back into a stem-cell-like state; biologically, these induced-pluripotent stem cells are virtually identical to embryonic stem cells, opening up a new potential avenue for stem-cell therapy whereby patients could be treated with their own stem cells."
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Using Wisdom Teeth To Make Stem Cells

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  • Just wisdom teeth? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mibe ( 1778804 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:06PM (#33546064)
    It seems from everything I've read that any teeth will do. Kids' baby teeth and wisdom teeth have been mentioned, but why not any other tooth? Wisdom teeth are anatomically similar to the rest of your teeth, so I don't think anyone willing to give up one of their permanent teeth will be excluded from any awesome stem cell therapy in the future.
  • by wickerprints ( 1094741 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:32PM (#33546236)

    At least, most people do. The root pulp cells being converted to stem cells are not unique to the wisdom teeth. I presume they are also present in other teeth; it's just that the third molars are usually extracted anyway (though some people do retain them, provided there's enough space in the dentition for them). If we're talking about choosing to treat a life-threatening disease versus keeping a tooth, I would think most people would choose the former--of course, we aren't quite at the point where such procedures are beyond the research stage (thanks to the religious nutcases).

But it does move! -- Galileo Galilei