Stem cells taken from teeth can grow to resemble brain cells, say University of Adelaide researchers. This finding could one day be used in the brain as a therapy for stroke.
In the University's Centre for Stem Cell Research, laboratory studies have shown that stem cells from teeth can develop and form complex networks of brain-like cells. Although these cells haven't developed into fully fledged neurons, researchers believe it's just a matter of time and the right conditions for it to happen.
"Stem cells from teeth have great potential to grow into new brain or nerve cells, and this could potentially assist with treatments of brain disorders, such as stroke," says Dr Kylie Ellis, Commercial Development Manager with the University's commercial arm, Adelaide Research & Innovation (ARI).
Dr Ellis conducted this research as part of her Physiology PhD studies at the University, before making the step into commercialisation. The results of her work have been published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy
"The reality is, treatment options available to the thousands of stroke patients every year are limited," Dr Ellis says. "The primary drug treatment available must be administered within hours of a stroke and many people don't have access within that timeframe, because they often can't seek help for some time after the attack.