Teeth Grown From Urine-Derived Stem Cells by Chinese Scientists

Tuesday, 30 Jul 2013 02:28 PM

By David Ogul

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Chinese scientists are giving new meaning to the term ‘potty mouth,’ saying they have succeeded in growing teeth from urine.

They concede they have much more work to do, but the researchers say they were able to grow new teeth using stem cells derived from human urine, according to an article in Medical News Today.

The full study was published in Cell Regeneration Journal.

The team working on the study is hoping the finding could lead to people being able to replace lost or damaged teeth.

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The development promises to provide plenty of fodder on the comedy circuit, if social networking sites are any guide.

“Good news if you drink Budweiser,” @coulls posted on Twitter.

“There’s hope for meth addicts,” tweeted @CounterMoonbat.

“I don’t think the tooth fairy is going to be happy,” tweeted @JamesTGallagher.

The BBC noted that researchers worldwide have for years investigated various methods of replacing teeth lost to age or poor hygiene. The team at Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health turned to urine.

What they did, in short, was harvest cells normally passed through the body and coaxed them into becoming stem cells. The cells were mixed with other material from a mouse. After a few weeks, the cells started to resemble a tooth.

“The tooth-like structure contained dental pulp, dentin, enamel space and enamel organ,” the researchers wrote. The teeth, however, were not as solid as natural teeth.

Chris Mason, a stem cell scientist at University College London, pooh-poohed the use of urine as a starting point. He told the BBC that urine “is probably one of the worst sources, there are very few cells in the first place and the efficiency of turning them into stem cells is very low. You just wouldn’t do it in this way.”

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Related Stories:

Scientists Clone Human Embryos For Stem Cells

Scientists Grow Human Liver With Stem Cells

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