Stem cell therapy could offer new hope for defects and injuries to head, mouth

July 30, 2012

In the first human study of its kind, researchers found that using stem cells to re-grow craniofacial tissues—mainly bone—proved quicker, more effective and less invasive than traditional bone regeneration treatments.

Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and the Michigan Center for Oral Health Research partnered with Ann Arbor-based Aastrom Biosciences Inc. in the clinical trial, which involved 24 patients who required jawbone reconstruction after tooth removal.

Patients either received experimental repair or traditional guided therapy. The tissue , called ixmyelocel-T, are under development at Aastrom, which is a U-M spinout company.

"In patients with jawbone deficiencies who also have missing teeth, it is very difficult to replace the missing teeth so that they look and function naturally," said Darnell Kaigler, principal investigator and assistant professor at the U-M School of Dentistry. "This technology and approach could potentially be used to restore areas of bone loss so that missing teeth can be replaced with dental implants."

William Giannobile, director of the Michigan Center for Oral Health Research and chair of the U-M Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, is co-principal investigator on the project.

The treatment is best suited for large defects such as those resulting from trauma, diseases or birth defects, Kaigler said. These defects are very complex because they involve several different tissue types—bone, skin, gum tissue—and are very challenging to treat.

The main advantage to the stem cell therapy is that it uses the patient's own cells to regenerate tissues, rather than introducing man-made, foreign materials, Kaigler said.

The results were promising. At six and 12 weeks following the experimental cell therapy treatment, patients in the study received dental implants. Patients who received cells had greater bone density and quicker bone repair than those who received traditional guided bone regeneration therapy.

In addition, the experimental group needed less secondary bone grafting when getting their implants.

The cells used for the therapy were originally extracted from bone marrow taken from the patient's hip. The marrow was processed using Aastrom's proprietary system, which allows many different cells to grow, including . These stem cells were then placed in different areas of the mouth and jaw.

Stem cell therapies are still probably 5-10 years away from being used regularly to treat oral and facial injuries and defects, Kaigler said. The next step is to perform more clinical trials that involve larger craniofacial defects in a larger number of patients.

The video will load shortly
Tissue repair cells implanted into patient

Explore further: Recipient's immune system governs stem cell regeneration

More information: The study, "Stem cell therapy for craniofacial bone repair: A randomized, controlled clinical trial," appears this month in the journal Cell Transplantation.

Related Stories

Recipient's immune system governs stem cell regeneration

November 20, 2011
A new study in Nature Medicine describes how different types of immune system T-cells alternately discourage and encourage stem cells to regrow bone and tissue, bringing into sharp focus the importance of the transplant recipient's ...

Restoring what's lost: Uncovering how liver tissue regenerates

March 12, 2012
The liver is unique among mammalian organs in its ability to regenerate after significant tissue damage or even partial surgical removal.

Recommended for you

Want to win at sports? Take a cue from these mighty mice

July 20, 2017
As student athletes hit training fields this summer to gain the competitive edge, a new study shows how the experiences of a tiny mouse can put them on the path to winning.

'Smart' robot technology could give stroke rehab a boost

July 19, 2017
Scientists say they have developed a "smart" robotic harness that might make it easier for people to learn to walk again after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

Engineered liver tissue expands after transplant

July 19, 2017
Many diseases, including cirrhosis and hepatitis, can lead to liver failure. More than 17,000 Americans suffering from these diseases are now waiting for liver transplants, but significantly fewer livers are available.

Lunatic Fringe gene plays key role in the renewable brain

July 19, 2017
The discovery that the brain can generate new cells - about 700 new neurons each day - has triggered investigations to uncover how this process is regulated. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Jan and Dan Duncan ...

New animal models for hepatitis C could pave the way for a vaccine

July 19, 2017
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of hepatitis C—a disease that affects nearly 71 million people worldwide, causing cirrhosis and liver cancer if left untreated—it might be worth ...

Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids

July 18, 2017
Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, is responsible for some of its ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.