By: 1 July 2016
Stem cells from gum tissue may cure spinal wounds

Stem cells from gum tissue may cure spinal wounds

Inside every gum tissue are numerous living stem cells, called gingiva cells, that scientists hope will offer cure to spinal injuries.

After successfully converting the stem cells into nerve cells in the laboratory , a team of dentists at the Chennai-based Sri Ramachandra University in India is working with rats as a part of an animal trial to further ascertain the possibilties of these cells.

Two weeks ago, Dr R Suresh, professor of peridontology, and his team induced gingiva cells into lab rats with spinal injuries. “We are waiting to see if these gingiva cells will convert into nerve cells just like they did on a petridish in our lab,” said Dr Suresh.

In February, the medical journal Experimental Molecular Medicine published a scientific paper on how Dr Suresh’s team was able to isolate stem cells from human gum tissues, culture them into nerve cells after adding stimulating protein. Stem cells produce cells that mature into specific types, such as heart and bone cells, or neurons and glia that compose the nervous systems.

If the animal trial is successful then the next step will be to see if these cells can be used to heal wounds. “It will take a few weeks for us to tell that if these cells are doing that,” he said. If everything goes well, the university will move to human trials. “It may take sever al years but it holds a hope for a cure,” he said. In 2014, scientists in the US turned stem cells inside the tooth into nerve cells, but they found the tooth was damaged in the process or that they had to use cells from a donor.

Doctors in Chennai say they will now be able to do the same thing without leaving scars or causing damage to the tooth.These stem cells from gums potentially offer scientists a new starting point from which they can grow human tissues for therapeutic or research purposes without using embryos, said Dr Suresh.

Source: Times of India