Japanese researchers have successfully implanted bioengineered
seed-like tissue into the jaws of mice, growing new teeth for the
rodents, according to a study.
The study, presented in the Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences demonstrates a technique that could be used to replace
Biologists have previously cultivated limited tissue in a
laboratory and successfully transplanted it into animals.
But the researchers, led by Etsuko Ikeda of the Tokyo University
of Science, "explored ways to grow a three-dimensional organ in
place, starting with teeth," the report said.
"The researchers developed a bioengineered tooth germ, which is
a seed-like tissue containing the cells and instructions necessary
to form a tooth, and transplanted the germ into the jawbones of
mice. The authors report that the germs regularly grew into
replacement teeth," the report said.
Teeth were hard enough to chew
The researchers were able to grow the teeth in gums that had
previously held milk and adult teeth and successfully repeated the
procedure on multiple occasions, producing teeth hard enough to
"Our study provides the first evidence of a successful
replacement of an entire and fully functioning organ in an adult
body through the transplantation of bioengineered organ germ,
reconstituted by single cell manipulation in vitro," said Takashi
Tsuji, one of the study's authors and a professor at Tokyo
University of Science.
The researchers said their method could provide "a model for
future organ replacement therapy."
They hope that scientists will eventually be able to use the
technique to "develop fully functioning bioengineered organs that
can replace lost or damaged organs following disease, injury or
aging," the study said. – (Sapa, August 2009)
Animal testing to continue