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, www.StemSave.com
an affordable service that allows an individual to cryopreserve their stem cells from teeth for future regenerative therapies."
Gregory Chotkowski, DMD