By United With Israel Staff
One of the most vexing issues for doctors is the human body’s limited ability to regrow missing parts. If, for example, a patient has lost a significant amount of bone in the hip or the knee, a piece of rib can be taken and grafted in. However, the success of such a procedure depends on a supporting infrastructure of soft tissue and blood vessels to enable the bone to heal. As a result, doctors also have to transplant the soft tissue as well.
But what if a specialized tissue made from dental pulp and its stem cells could be produced in a vat, eliminating the need to remove it from the patient’s body?
That’s the pioneering work that Professor Shulamit Levenberg is doing at the Technion – The Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
Levenberg has successfully created soft tissue with blood vessels from dental pulp, which is the material inside teeth. The stem cells from the dental pulp help blood vessels to form, supporting tissue growth and healing.
This new procedure has been trialed in repairing a bone defect in rats. The new tissue has a positive effect on the healing process because there’s no need to create a new wound to extract the already-existing soft-tissue from elsewhere in the body.
Alan Aziz, CEO of Technion UK, commented: “Being able to grow your own replacements for missing body parts in a lab might sound like science fiction, but it may soon become reality thanks to pioneering research at the Technion.”
“And that’s the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth!” he added.
Image: Atbannett, CC BY-SA 4.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons