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Scientists Grow Replacement Human Teeth In Mouse Kidneys 117

sciencehabit writes "When an adult loses a tooth, there's no hope of growing a new one—unless you've got a mouse kidney handy. In a new study, researchers injected human gum tissue extracted during oral surgery into the molars of fetal mice. After giving the cells a week to get used to each other, the scientists implanted the chimeric concoction into the protective tissue surrounding the kidneys of living mice. There, 20% of the cells developed into objects recognizable as teeth, complete with the root structures missing from artificial tooth implants. The next step is to transplant these so-called 'bio-teeth' back into human mouths and see if they grow into something that we can chew on—or rather, with."
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Scientists Grow Replacement Human Teeth In Mouse Kidneys

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  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:00AM (#43137779) Homepage Journal

    No need to worry about how gross that sounds, they wash them before putting them in, using a special sterilizing soap grown from a rat's testicles.

    • by tippe ( 1136385 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:28AM (#43138071)

      Nicholson [pointing a gun at DiCaprio]: I taste a rat!
      DiCaprio: Those are you're new implants, boss!
      Nicholson [putting gun away]: Oh yeah. It's going to take some time to get used to these...

    • Problem is after inserting them you have a craving for cheese.

    • Ouch, talk about a nasty kidney stone...
    • I'd imagine after getting these teeth added, one would develop a new fondness for cheese...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:01AM (#43137789)

    As tempting as putting something in my mouth grown from a mouse's kidney sounds, I'll just take a crown or some bridgework, thanks.

    • by tmosley ( 996283 )
      Really? Because I would like to be able to chew gum without terror.
    • This isn't saying they would use the mouse method on humans... (face-plant) They are just saying they found what kind of cells they need to promote the growth of a natural tooth from these cells. If you bothered to read the article you'd know they are now looking for a cheap and easy way to get human mesenchymal cells the make this a viable option for use on human patients.
    • by gig ( 78408 )

      As gross as this sounds, dental implants sound much worse. They drill a hole in your jaw and put in a giant screw. Hopefully they put it in right. Here at least it is a real tooth, grown from a piece of your own gums.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:01AM (#43137793)
    They would find it much more lucrative if they could figure out a way to grow replacement KIDNEYS.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So-called "bio-teeth" opposed to WHAT?

    • by tmosley ( 996283 )
      Craniofacial implants.
    • So-called "bio-teeth" opposed to WHAT?


      • by worf_mo ( 193770 )

        Exactly, either porcelain or acrylic teeth. Right now I'm sitting next to one of several teeth production lines in a customer's plant (writing custom software for the machines).

        • So, you've decided to cut your meta-teeth on writing teeth-making software?
          • by worf_mo ( 193770 )

            I've started this job over a decade ago, occasionally it has provoked some teeth grinding, but overall it's nothing to gnash about - I love it. And the scrap teeth I was given were quite useful for Halloween jokes.

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:05AM (#43137829)
    It sounds good but the instruction was to grow human kidneys in rats teeth. It was a real Do'h moment when the researcher reread his brief!
  • by FictionPimp ( 712802 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:05AM (#43137837) Homepage

    So they take tissue out of your mouth, put it in a mouse, then grow the tooth. Why not just grow the tooth in your own mouth?

  • Sucks to be that rat when it comes time to harvest those teeth...

    • On the other hand, if that rat was growing my replacement tooth, up until it was time to harvest the tooth that rat would be the most pampered rat in the world.
  • In our millennium long attempt to become King of All the Predators, we have finally caught up to the Shark.

    Now, NOTHING can stand against us!

    Crown us King of the Earth and the SEAS!

    P.S. I already know humans kill more sharks than sharks kill humans. But darn it, they smiled too much when we kill them. Now we can do it BACK.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:34AM (#43138159)

    bite the hand that feeds them?

  • Difficulties (Score:5, Informative)

    by teethdood ( 867281 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:35AM (#43138167)
    I am a dentist One of the benefits cited in the fine article is that the kidney-grown tooth structures more closely resemble a real tooth with a physical root. The root system of a tooth is much more complex than just its physical shape. Within a tooth socket, you have the periodontal ligament surrounding the root separating the jaw bone from the root. Then you have the root itself with cementum layer, dentin layer, then pulp. Even if we were to be able to grow a tooth outside the mouth, it doesn't mean all the necessary structures are there. When transplanting a grown tooth, you're faced with several obstacles: 1) Bone socket must be created to the exactly fit the tooth 2) Creating the periodontal ligament to provide cushion, natural tooth movements, and the ability to extract that tooth without it fusing to the bone 3) The pulp tissue needs to be connected somehow to the nerve and blood systems, otherwise you would have to do a root canal to remove the pulp 4) The morphology of the crown portion above the gum needs to be correct, meaning the tooth needs a crown So, while being able to induce cells to grown into something that looks like a tooth is a step forward, at this point it is far from a viable treatment option versus a titanium implant which has a known shape/diameter/length. The golden ticket is when we can induce mesenchymal stem cells to grow into a tooth directly in the jaw (hopefully with the correct morphology due to its position next to adjacent teeth as well).
    • Re:Difficulties (Score:4, Informative)

      by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Monday March 11, 2013 @12:13PM (#43139315)

      Agreed, the perfect solution is the one that generates teeth already.

      The issue with fibroblasts in adult human tissue, is that they don't form a blastema upon "injury". (unless you are a reptile, or certain kinds of fish.) I mention fibroblasts, because they are the creators and components of the extracellular matrix, which helps undifferentiated cells to understand where in the host they have found themselves.

      In mammals, fibroblasts "regenerate" damage as scar tissue, instead of forming the blastema. In regenerating lizards and the like, they form this structure, which essentially regrows the missing or damaged tissue using stemcells from the host's blood supply, which migrate to the blastema, attach, then begin regrowing the damaged or amputated feature following the embryonic blueprint, using HOX gene activation of the supporting fibroblast matrix as a signpost.

      The ideal solution, would be to collect a sample of tissue from a recently extracted diseased molar, culture it in a petri dish, and use a chemical cocktail to force it to become a blastema, which would then be reinserted into the jaw later. This ensures proper HOX activation for the site from the tissue culture, which helps ensure that the resulting tissue from the blastema will not only be a tooth, but also the CORRECT tooth.

      It is important to note that the location in the body from which the fibroblasts harvested to create these blastema is critical in determining "what" will grow. Several experiments were performed on salamanders, where a lesion was purposefully created, then the blastema translocated to a different location on the host surgically. The result was the induction of grown limbs in inappropriate places, (such as tails and legs in the middle of the back), at the sites of translocation. Once the blastema has formed, it has already begun the developmental program for what will be produced. It is believed this is due to the activation state of bodyplan HOX genes in the fibroblasts involved in the blastema's creation, according to several gene expression assays performed.

      This means that the tooth formed by a dental blastema would be highly dependent upon where in the mouth the cell culture was taken, and the presence of scar tissue being extent or not. It would be a very good idea to write down that information when taking your samples for culture, and not mixing the samples up on implantation. :D

      It is personal conjecture time, but personally, I think that a cultured then frozen blastema could be later reintroduced as a grown tooth bud after the bone tissue has healed in the extraction channel, and after the in vitro blastema has had sufficient time to decide which way it will make its root structure, to reduce the risks of "serious complication", which needless to say, would require very invasive surgery to correct, as well as for it to develop diagnostic criteria for ensuring proper orientation and clocking for insertion. (The transplanted tissue bud would be about the size of a grain of milo, or smaller at this stage of development. Just enough to know which way it is pointed, and to get some diagnostic data for proper insertion from.) This way the introduced blastema would grow and integrate with the jaw in the appropriate fashion, though it would be a good idea to monitor its growth to ensure it was properly inserted, and is not going to cause an impaction later. (Somehow I doubt most insurance would cover the added expenses over that of a prosthetic device though, and they bitch enough about those. As such, I dont see this happening any time soon, but I don't see a major obstacle against it biologically/technologically. Bureaucratically is another issue entirely!)

      Even if the resulting dental crown is abnormal, this at least produces a healthy root structure, (at least in theory), which would allow surgical correction with more traditional techniques, as required.

      Naturally, this process needs to be performed in animals many times to work out all the risks of complicat

  • Would the teeth be considered less disgusting if they were grown in a cow's buttocks? Besides, plenty of people in western culture eat kidneys already. Your steak and kidney pie will probably taste better coming off of a fork with teeth than coming out of a straw.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They're still using stem cells. It would be much greater to find the solution or protein that triggers your body to just produce a new set of teeth.

    The end of the article source is pretty depressing. 10-15 years away from human trials. They said that 10-15 years ago. I've been watching this research for a long time, as I was one of those kids that lived on mt. Dew soda. Ugh! I was particularly excited when they released a treatment for gum tissue repair this year. []

    Captcha: puppies

    • by 1u3hr ( 530656 )

      The end of the article source is pretty depressing. 10-15 years away from human trials. They said that 10-15 years ago.

      Longer. I've been reading reports a bit this kind of research every couple of years for at least 20 years. And now every year or two I have to have a root canal, and/or crown, or just extraction. My time is running out before I end up like my father with full dentures.

  • Where you could just regrow your tooth in your own jaw and heal your teeth? ...besides the fact that it would put every single dentist out of work.

    I guess the same thing that happened to the techniques to restore your eyesight.

    Never trust a person who makes a living off of you staying sick and helpless.

    • AFAICT, the LIPUS stuff got run through the science-to-media translation matrix and overhyped, as usual.

      The "grow new teeth" thing was the result of a study (by Dr. Tarek El-Bialy at the University of Alberta) of it in rabbits, who already have continuously-growing teeth, so presumably provoking the growth of new teeth is a relatively simple task.

      In humans, it seems to be mostly useful as a potential treatment for root resorption or to supplement stem cell-based regrowth.

    • by captjc ( 453680 )

      ...besides the fact that it would put every single dentist out of work.

      No it wouldn't. Someone has got to perform the procedure, might just as well be a dentist. Besides, it wouldn't exactly fix the problems of crooked, impacted, or malformed teeth, so even with this technology, there will still be a need for qualified dentists.

  • PETA should be all over this! Imagine passing a molar through your tiny mouse urethra!

  • When you realize you're not reading an "April Fools'" headline... Seriously, this looks like a story you'd see on The Onion, not SienceMag. We live in interesting times, indeed.

  • If teeth is a cosmetic product, then it is going to work in EU - [] . But unfortunately, it is not cosmetic except for insurance purposes. So the mice will have to endure this humans digging for tooth.
  • Human teeth from mouse kidneys. Because why the hell not? Next week, we'll start on our project to make alligator spleens from parrot intestines. Time permitting, there's always the cheetah-bones-from-elephant-skin plan or the one where we make dog fur from jellyfish stingers. If we get enough funding, we might be able to complete our magnum opus, recreating the heart of a triceratops from the colon of a neanderthal!

  • What a painful stone that would be to pass.

  • Puts a new twist on grandpa's: "Has anyone seen my teeth?"

    "Relax, grandpa, they're right here in these mice kidneys. Just try to remember not to soak the mice in Efferdent overnight. This one's still foaming at the mouth."
  • I just don't want rat kidneys then growing in my mouth.
  • Canadian Scientists Regrow Teeth []

    Did this not pan out or something?

  • hit in the mouth with a baseball bat at the age of 7, my left front tooth has had at least 7 or 8 replacements. the current one has been there for 17 years, there is a crack on the porcelain on one side... teeth, skin, hair, gums.... things you couldnt buy... so fracking excited that we are getting brand new teeth before i am too old to pretend i am young

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