Stem cells were recently utilized to regrow craniofacial tissues. The study was the first of its kind and discovered that it was faster and more efficient than other, more conventional bone regeneration treatments.
A research team at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and the Michigan Center for Oral Health Research joined forces with Ann Arbor-based Aastrom Biosciences for this study. The clinical trial included 24 patients who needed jawbone reconstruction after some type of tooth removal.
The patients were treated with experimental tissue repair cells or a guided bone regeneration therapy. The tissue repair cells are still being developed.
This treatment is ideal for people with major defects resulting from some type of disease or trauma. The problems generally include multiple layers of tissue, making the processes to treat the issue complicated.
The benefit of stem cell research is that the patients’ own cells are utilized to regenerate tissue, as opposed to using man-made tissues.
The results from the study could be extremely beneficial. Six and 12 weeks after the cell therapy treatment, patients received dental implants. The patients who received tissue repair cells had greater bone density when compared to the patients who received conventional bone therapy. The experimental group also did not need as much bone grafting when receiving the implants.
The cells used in the therapy were taken from bone marrow in the patients’ hips. The bone marrow was processed thanks to the system Aastrom uses, which enabled various cells to grow. The stem cells were later inserted throughout the mouth and jaw.
Despite this research, this kind of stem cell treatment is still at least five years away—and more than that in all likelihood—from being put into practice. More clinical trials are necessary and it’s essential to include bigger craniofacial defects in a wide array of patients.