Researchers use light to coax stem cells to repair teeth

by James Weaver, Harvard's Wyss Institute

SUBJECT: Noninvasive laser therapy could radically shift dental treatment and lead to a host of broader clinical applications in regenerative medicine - CLICK THE TITLE ABOVE TO READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Paragone denti These tooth models show the relative size comparison of a human tooth versus a rat tooth — to give an idea of the technical challenges involved with performing dentistry on such a small scale. NOTE: The small "rat tooth" is not an actual rat tooth but rather a resized human tooth. (Credit: James Weaver, Harvard's Wyss Institute)
A Harvard-led team is the first to demonstrate the ability to use low-power light to trigger stem cells inside the body to regenerate tissue, an advance they reported inScience Translational Medicine. The research, led by Wyss Institute Core Faculty member David Mooney, Ph.D., lays the foundation for a host of clinical applications in restorative dentistry and regenerative medicine more broadly, such as wound healing, bone regeneration, and more.

The team used a low-power laser to trigger human dental stem cells to form dentin, the hard tissue that is similar to bone and makes up the bulk of teeth. What's more, they outlined the precise molecular mechanism involved, and demonstrated its prowess using multiple laboratory and animal models....... more....