We’ve All Waited for It: Scientists Created a Drug That Can Help Regrow Lost Teeth

The tooth fairy is a welcome guest for any child who has lost a tooth. Not only will the fairy leave a small gift under the child’s pillow, but they be assured of a replacement tooth in a few months. Unfortunately, the scenario is quite different for adults grappling with a loss of teeth. Luckily, there may be some hope thanks to a new study performed by scientists at Kyoto University and the University of Fukui.

A dental breakthrough

While the typical adult mouth houses 32 teeth, approximately 1% of the population exhibits variations of them, either possessing more or fewer teeth due to congenital conditions. Researchers have delved into the genetic factors behind cases of excessive teeth, seeking valuable insights into the potential regeneration of teeth in adults. This study is the first to show that monoclonal antibodies can help regrow teeth. It suggests a new way to treat a dental problem that currently requires implants and other artificial solutions.

A bit of science

The research team disclosed that an antibody targeting a specific gene, known as uterine sensitization-associated gene-1 (USAG-1), can induce tooth development in mice affected by tooth agenesis, a congenital condition. The findings were published in the journal, Science Advances.

As per Katsu Takahashi, a senior lecturer at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine and one of the principal contributors to the study, the essential molecules crucial for the development of teeth have already been pinpointed. “The morphogenesis of individual teeth depends on the interactions of several molecules including BMP, or bone morphogenetic protein, and Wnt signaling,” says Takahashi.

On April 13, 2021, the University of Kyoto posted its first pic of newly-grown teeth in mice.

BMP and Wnt are involved in more than just tooth development; they affect the growth of organs and tissues early in the body’s development. Because drugs affecting them directly might have broad side effects, scientists are cautious. To find a potentially safer method, researchers focused on the gene USAG-1, thinking that aiming at factors countering BMP and Wnt specifically in tooth development could be more precise.

“We knew that suppressing USAG-1 benefits tooth growth. What we did not know was whether it would be enough,” added Takahashi.

The first results

Scientists looked at how different monoclonal antibodies affect USAG-1. Monoclonal antibodies are often used to treat things like cancer and arthritis and for making vaccines. Tests with this antibody showed that BMP signaling is crucial for deciding the number of teeth in mice. Also, just one treatment was enough to grow a whole tooth. Further tests confirmed these positive results in ferrets too.

“Ferrets are diphyodont animals with similar dental patterns to humans. Our next plan is to test the antibodies on other animals, such as pigs and dogs,” explained Takahashi.

Fully regrown frontal teeth in ferrets

The next steps

Now, scientists are going to test the drug on healthy adults. If that goes well, the team plans to try it on kids aged 2 to 6 with a rare tooth problem called anodontiaa genetic disorder defined as the absence of all teeth. These kids will get one shot of the drug to see if it makes their teeth grow. If everything works out, the medicine might be approved by 2030.

Takahashi sees the new medicine as an additional choice for individuals who are missing some or all of their teeth.

“The idea of growing new teeth is every dentist’s dream,” Takahashi told the Japanese newspaper, The Mainichi in June this year. “I’ve been working on this since I was a graduate student. I was confident I’d be able to make it happen.”

So hopefully, by the year 2030, humans will get a chance to have their third generation of teeth grown and say goodbye to implants. Until then, make sure to keep your teeth strong and healthy — this article will help you with that.

Preview photo credit KyotoU_News / Twitter

THE MAJORITY OF VIEWERS DON’T REMEMBER THIS ACTOR, BUT HIS FANS STILL ADORE HIM

Despite portraying numerous well-known roles, a significant portion of the population remains unfamiliar with him.

Vincent D’Onofrio, an underdog in the entertainment industry, has contributed significantly to the field over an extensive career. Born in 1959, Vincent’s interest in theater blossomed in the 1970s, leading him to actively seek opportunities in local theaters.

Transitioning from behind the scenes after high school, he immersed himself in New York University’s student theater productions, establishing a foundation for his future in the industry.

During his early years, Vincent worked as a bouncer at the Hard Rock Café and even served as a part-time bodyguard for Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. However, his breakthrough came in 1987 with the role of Pvt.

Leonard Lawrence in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket. Notably, he gained 70 pounds to convincingly portray the character.

In 1992, D’Onofrio featured in Robert Altman’s film The Player as a jaded screenwriter critical of the declining originality in Hollywood scripts. The 1995 film Strange Days showcased him as Burton Steckler, a police officer pursuing a crucial video evidence disc.

His villainous role in the 1997 film Men in Black alongside Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones further showcased his versatility.

In 2001, D’Onofrio began his stint as Detective Robert Goren in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, appearing in 141 episodes. He also had a supporting role in the television series Sherlock.

Over the years, he made guest appearances in various shows, displaying his ability to seamlessly transform into diverse characters.

In 2015, he portrayed Vic Hoskins in Jurassic World, adding another impressive credit to his name. Despite his substantial contributions, Vincent D’Onofrio remains underappreciated, and many believe he deserves more recognition.

For those unfamiliar with his work, Vincent D’Onofrio has been a consistent source of entertainment for years. Share this information with friends, and perhaps one day, Vincent will achieve the widespread recognition he truly deserves.

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