Can a Minipig Save Your Gums?

Difficult as it may be to believe, a minipig may be able to save your gums (and your teeth). A new therapy currently under development at Tohoku University in Japan suggests that stem-cells from minipigs may regenerate periodontal tissue in humans. This will, they say, heal gum tissue faster and at lower cost. It will also improve the quality of the minipig- pixabay cco free - 3986310 1280new tissue, according to scientists.

Periodontitis is one of the most common human dental diseases. It has been estimated that as much as 75 percent of the adult population in the USA has periodontitis. It is a painful disease. It results from bacterial inflammation of the gums and, eventually, loss of gums and supporting structures around the teeth. This inflammation creates infected pockets that cause erosion of bone and tooth loss. But this inflammation has been connected with heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and more.

Current treatments for gum disease include infection fighting, use of growth factors, and tissue regeneration using autologous mesenchymal stem cells (a patient’s own bone marrow stem cells from cartilage, bone and fat. The goal, of course, is to regenerate whatever tissue has been lost to the disease. Side effects have been limited, but they have caused some defects.

The scientists developing this treatment report that their new treatment can regenerate gum tissue safely and more efficiently than any other treatment currently available. If this treatment proves effective, it can save the gums and prevent tooth loss in millions of patients.

The new treatment does not use an organism’s own stem cells. Instead, stem cells from a healthy organism are transplanted into an affected organism. These “allogeneic stem cells” overcome the shortcomings of current treatments. Specifically, this treatment uses stem cells derived from fat tissue transplanted from healthy minipigs. The treatment has thus far been safe and effective for treatment of gum disease.

The study is “a powerful first step towards further development of stem cell-based therapy for the treatment of periodontal disease,” according to one of the researchers. The researchers plan to take the next step and conduct a clinical trial in humans to demonstrate the positive results of transplanting stem cells and stimulation of successful periodontal tissue regeneration.

This kind of significant advance in treatment could change the oral health and the lives of many Americans. We will be eager to see the results of the next step in development of the treatment. We will keep you informed.