Feature

How are dental pulp stem cells collected?

By Wideacademy - 29.10.2017

Baby teeth

Every time an adult healthy tooth is extracted for routine orthodontic procedures or a child loses a deciduous (milk) tooth there is the opportunity to collect and store stem cells.

The start of the process is for the dentist or parents is to place the extracted tooth into a collection pot. The cells inside the tooth are viable for up to 72 hours after collection enabling teeth to be sent to Manchester from Europe, the Middle East and Far East.

The 'donor' of the tooth has to undergo a blood test for infectious disease screening as required by the regulatory authorities. This blood work must be carried out at the same time as the collection of the tooth. Following that process, the tooth is examined and prepared for processing, to extract the valuable stem cells,. The tooth is then opened using a specially designed electric saw. Once opened the dental pulp is exposed and this is where the stem cells reside.

The opened tooth is then placed in freezing solution and then frozen in a controlled rate freezer and stored in liquid nitrogen vapour at -180 degrees Centigrade. At this temperature the stem cells inside the dental pulp are stable for future use.

The stem cells inside the dental pulp are called mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). MSC are capable of producing connective tissue, tendons and bone and as such are potentially extremely valuable in the future treatment of bone and connective tissue disease or injury. Several clinical trials are underway using dental pulp MSC including treatments for:

• Chronic Periodontal Disease • Cleft Lip and Palate (Bone Tissue Engineering) • Huntington's Disease (neurological disorder)

Future clinical trials resulting in potential treatments for bone and connective tissue disease will extend the potential uses of dental stem cells.