As stem cell research evolves, it becomes increasingly likely that over the long term, stem cell therapy will change the healthcare landscape. Hundreds of clinical trials are underway, aiming to utilize stem cell biology for the development of powerful treatment options. The field of regenerative medicine holds promise for the treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes, autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, and even muscle and cartilage repair following injury.

What if stem cells could help you prevent future illness or the illness of your loved ones? Advances in stem cell research present an opportunity for you to do just this by banking stem cells for potential use in future medical treatment. At Stemodontics™, we believe that every person should have the opportunity to preserve their medical future, and it is important to know that there are limited opportunities for you to safely and painlessly collect and store stem cells.

When we are young, our bodies house lots of healthy stem cells, but as we age, the stem cells in our body begin to decline in both quality and quantity. Every time your stem cells duplicate, they lose just a small bit of their value, which makes it more difficult for our bodies to fight off disease or recover from injuries as we age. That is why banking your stem cells as early as possible can maximize their viability for future use.

STEM CELL RESEARCH

Stem cell research has expanded at an exponential rate, and stem cell therapy represents a fascinating new approach to the management of diseases. Global advances using stem cells in therapeutic, reconstructive, orthopedic, and cosmetic applications are an important part of the future of personalized and regenerative medicine. Stem cell therapy will allow the repair of defective tissues or functions through the transplantation of live cells.

Stem cells exist throughout the body, including in the teeth. Many tooth-derived SCs (TDSCs) have been identified and characterized, including dental pulp SCs (DPSCs), SCs from human exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHED), periodontal ligament SCs (PDLSCs), dental follicle progenitor cells (DFPCs), SCs from apical papilla (SCAP), and periodontal ligament of deciduous teeth SCs (DePDL). Dental tissues are an accessible source that can be obtained with limited morbidity and without additional risks to the donor, as extracted/exfoliated teeth represent a by-product of dental treatment. Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) can differentiate into various tissue types, including neuronal cells, cardiac tissue (cardiomyocytes), cartilage (chondrocytes), bone (osteoblasts), liver cells (hepatocytes), and pancreatic cells and tissue. Thus, DPSCs show great potential for use in regenerative and personalized medicine for treatment of various chronic conditions, including dental disease. The DPSCs can be derived from various dental tissues, such as human exfoliated deciduous teeth, apical papilla, periodontal ligament, and dental follicle tissue.

Current research on dental stem cells is expanding at a rapid rate. Stem cells derived from teeth are easily accessible and can be obtained in a convenient and minimally invasive way. Looking at current research trends, these new sources of stem cells are expected to be beneficial for cellular therapy and the development of personalized, regenerative therapy. These cells can be used for the person from whom they were harvested (autologous transplant) and potentially could be useful for close relatives of the donor. Additionally, because these are adult stem cells, ethical concerns related to embryonic stem cells are not an issue.

In the next few years, a central goal of cell therapy will be to identify and understand cell differentiation mechanisms so that optimal cell populations and culture conditions can be used to treat disease more effectively. A thorough knowledge of stem cell biology may enhance the development of therapeutic approaches and fulfill the huge impact that stem cell therapy will have for future health care. In parallel, it is important to evaluate the role of molecules that recruit endogenous stem cells for tissue regeneration. This strategy may provide an alternative pathway that side-steps difficulties caused by bureaucracy and policy. We expect that increased application of stem cells will lead to improved health in the long run.