Tooth regrowth: an emerging reality

Japanese researchers plan to begin human trials of a tooth-regrowing drug.

Tooth regrowth, once considered far-fetched, has been a subject of scientific investigation for years. Researchers have drawn inspiration from animals known for their regenerative capabilities.

Insights from alligators

Cheng Ming Chuong, in his 2013 article on human tooth regrowth, highlighted alligators as a model for understanding this process in humans. Alligators have teeth that grow in sets of three, a pattern somewhat mirrored in humans during the early months of life.

In alligators, beneath a mature tooth lies a juvenile tooth, and beneath that, a stem cell bud with the potential to become a new tooth. Humans share a similar structure but lack the stem cell bud. Chuong suggested that if we could manipulate the molecular pathways that inhibit tooth growth, we might reverse tooth loss.

Testing and trials

The first phase of testing will begin in September and run through 2025, involving 30 adult males. A subsequent phase will test the drug on children aged two to seven with congenital tooth absence.

“We aim to help those suffering from tooth loss or absence. Although no permanent treatment exists yet, we believe people’s expectations for tooth regrowth are high.”

The study

In 2021, Chuong’s team identified a geneUterine Sensitization-Associated Gene-1 (USAG-1)—that appeared to halt the production of additional teeth. Disabling this gene and stopping the protein production resulted in either the loss or the formation of extra teeth.

With clinical trials, Takahashi and his team are prepared to attempt USAG-1 suppression in humans once the drug proves safe.

The clinical trial will include 30 healthy men aged 30 to 64 who have at least one missing molar. This phase aims to evaluate the drug’s safety, administered intravenously.

Takahashi and his team have established Toregem Biopharma to commercialize the USAG-1 drug, aiming for market release by 2030. While initial tests focus on congenital tooth loss, the team hopes the drug will eventually help regenerate teeth lost to decay, injuries, and other causes.

Source: The Mainichi 

The article draws upon studies published and recommendations from international institutions and/or experts. We do not make claims in the medical-scientific field and report the facts as they are. Sources are indicated at the end of each article.
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