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The FDA just approved the first clinical trial of embryonic stem cells in humans. The trial involves an attempt to repair severed spinal cords in paraplegics. In the past decade, researchers have discovered different forms of stem cells, all of which hold promise as tools for developing new treatments for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's.

I posted the following comment to an article that was recently featured in US News and World report What Stem Cells Can Do—and Can't. There are three types of stem cells; Embryonic Stem Cells, Adult Stem Cells and Induced pluripotential cells and each type has their pluses and minuses in medical applications.

"There is another source of adult stem cells that gets overlooked on a daily basis. These powerful stem cells are found in healthy developing wisdom teeth. The immature stem cells recovered from extracted wisdom teeth have markers similar to what is found on plurpotential embryonic stem cells. As an oral surgeon and the president of StemSave, Inc, I recommend that individuals are made aware of this valuable source of stem cells. Over 10 million wisdom teeth are removed and discarded as medical waste yearly. If the stem cells within these wisdom teeth were made available to researchers we would have an unlimited resource of stem cells that do not have the moral or ethical issues associated with them when compared to embryonic stem cells. Yes, the stem cells from wisdom teeth are considered adult stem cells and cannot form into all 220 different types of cells that embryonic stem cells can. But for a number of diseases, you need only one type of reparative cell to cure the disease. Another factor that must be considered is the possibility for the rejection of an embryonic stem cell transplant and the need to place the recipient on anti-rejection drugs. This is not the case for adult stem cells recovered from an individual and then reimplanted back into that same individual. I am advocating that we continue to support and expand all types of stem cell research but let’s not overlook a plentiful and accessible source of stem cells, those found within the pulp of developing wisdom teeth. This is coming from a parent of a 12 yr old son with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, an incurable degenerative disease. My son is the inspiration behind StemSave, Inc, an affordable service that allows an individual to cryopreserve their stem cells from teeth for future regenerative therapies."

Gregory Chotkowski, DMD

Views: 28

Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for the link to the U.S. News & World Report. Do you feel that wisdom tooth stem cells was a journalistic oversight, or part of a broader lack of awareness in the scientific community?
Thank you Mark, we see this as a lack of awareness for both medical researchers and the general public. StemSave has been focused on raising the awareness of this valuable source of stem cells within the Dental Community. We are hoping through continuing education programs and awareness campaigns the Dental Professional will realize the potential of Stem Cells and share this knowledge with their patients. Opportunities for individuals to secure their stem cells are being missed daily at the time when they are having teeth with healthy pulps removed.
What about obstetricians? They have close contact with mothers during at least monthly appointments over the period of the pregnancy. Is there any point in working closer with them to create an awareness about the value of wisdom teeth? And, since the dental problems with those teeth typically surface after age 15, what about pediatricians in general? It seems like both of these health care providers could play a pivotal role too?

By the way, I noted WebMD does not refer to stem cells in its discussion of wisdom teeth extraction.
We will be reaching out to pediatricians to educate them on a valuable source of stem cells found in the pulp of healthy teeth: baby teeth, wisdom teeth and other permanent teeth that are recommended for removal - bicuspids for orthodontic considerations. This is also a valuable service for individuals that missed the opportunity to bank their children's cordbood. I will need to get in touch with WebMD and make them aware too.



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