UCLA Scientists Make Discovery that May Aid Dentistry

Cancer scientists at the UCLA School of Dentistry have found two epigenetic regulating genes that impact cell-fate determination of human bone marrow stem cells. Translation: dental researchers may be able to dictate stem-to-cell differentiation to the point where bone diseases can be successfully treated.

The possibility of targeting treatments in craniofacial bone regeneration, bone construction, and osteoporosis could be on the horizon.

This information shows the improvement of the way gene structure is understood during epigenetic regulation of stem cell differentiation and how it’s altered without changing the DNA sequence, according to Dr. Cun-Yu Wang. Gene-activating enzymes serve to eliminate methyl markers from histone proteins, which would improve stem-to-bone cell differentiation.

Gene lineage favoring is the science behind this discovery. Genes that favor certain lineages are activated and genes that favor alternate lineages are deactivated. It’s possible for stem cells to differentiate into bone cells. The point of this research is to create the opportunity to possibly treat osteoporosis and gum disease.

The information appears in the most recent issue of Cell Stem Cell, a publication associated with the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

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