Breaking Ground: Japanese Researchers Develop Tooth Growth Stimulant

A group of scientists led by a Japanese pharmaceutical startup is actively engaged in developing a groundbreaking drug designed to stimulate the growth of new teeth, a pioneering endeavor. Toregem Biopharma Co. is set to initiate clinical trials on healthy adults around July 2024 to verify the drug’s safety. This follows their previous success in cultivating new teeth in mice back in 2018. They aim to bring this revolutionary product to the market by approximately 2030.

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How Does This Work?

The research team has crafted an antibody-based drug that obstructs the protein responsible for suppressing tooth growth. This drug has a stimulating effect on these dormant buds, encouraging their development. 

In an experiment in 2018, the team also administered this drug to ferrets, which possess both baby and permanent teeth similar to humans, resulting in the successful growth of new teeth. In most individuals, there exist “tooth buds” that hold the potential to develop into new teeth, in addition to baby and permanent teeth.

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The Future of The Tooth Growth Stimulant

The team’s future plans include conducting clinical trials on the drug starting in 2025, targeting children aged 2 to 6 years who suffer from anodontia, a condition where some or all permanent teeth fail to develop. Katsu Takahashi, co-founder of Toregem Biopharma and the head of dentistry and oral surgery at Kitano Hospital in Osaka, emphasized the impact of missing teeth in children on their jaw bone development. The children in the clinical trials will then receive a single dose of the drug to initiate tooth growth.

Adults will also be part of their target market, as there are countless adults who have lost teeth due to cavities. This innovation could potentially transform the field of dentistry, offering solutions for tooth growth in both children and adults.

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The development of a tooth growth drug could lead to a deeper understanding of tooth biology and regeneration as this knowledge could have broader implications for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Currently, dental treatments for tooth loss often involve invasive procedures like dental implants or bridges. A tooth growth drug could offer a less invasive and more convenient option for tooth replacement, hence, this research highly revolutionizes dental care overall.

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