Japanese researchers grow first stem cell tooth

Japanese scientists have grown an entire tooth from stem cells implanted into a mouse’s kidney. The US Public Library of Science Journal reports the tooth is fully functional and mature, with ligament and bone surrounding it. Queensland University of Technology cell biologist Dr David Leavesley says building a fully functional, complex cell tissue is the crucial step scientists have been waiting for. “(The tooth) is the Golden Fleece, or if you like, is the gold at the end of the rainbow,” he said.

A team at Tokyo University of Science, led by Takashi Tsuji, placed mouse stem cells inside a drop of collagen, and inserted it into a mouse’s kidney. The resulting tooth was then successfully transplanted into another mouse’s jaw.

“All the kidney's done is provide it with a nice warm, moist environment, with enough food and with a waste disposal system to get rid of the waste products, the toxins that simply growing creates, and so that's what's novel,” says Dr Leavesley. Professor Tsuji says the ultimate goal is to grow kidneys and livers to relieve the world’s shortage of organs for transplants. ~ ABC News, Jul 13

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