Tooth regrowth medicine successful in animal trials

Tooth regrowth medicine successful in animal trials

Medicine that was successful in promoting tooth regrowth in animals is set to enter human trials in September.

In July 2023, it was announced that a new medicine had been developed to promote tooth regrowth. It works by suppressing USAG-1, a molecule that inhibits bone growth proteins.

The medicine has already been tested on animals with no major side effects. It successfully generated new teeth in mice, ferrets and dogs. The drug is now scheduled to begin human testing at Kyoto University Hospital from September 2024.

The human trials will involve healthy adults with at least one missing tooth being injected with the medicine and observed. This will establish whether any negative health effects result from human use. Once the safety of the drug is confirmed, researchers will test it on children aged two to seven with four or more missing teeth.

‘People’s expectations for tooth growth are high’

The researchers behind the project hope that the medicine will be available for public sale by 2030. This will particularly help those with congenital edentulism, a condition which causes sufferers to be born with fewer teeth than normal.

However, the researchers hope that the drug will also be effective in patients who have lost teeth due to gum disease or injury.

Katsu Takahashi is head of the dentistry and oral surgery department at Kitano Hospital and lead researcher on the project. Speaking to The Mainichi, he said: ‘We want to do something to help those who are suffering from tooth loss or absence. While there has been no treatment to date providing a permanent cure, we feel that people’s expectations for tooth growth are high.’

Dr Takahashi previously said that he had been working on tooth regrowth since he was a graduate student. He described regrowth as ‘every dentist’s dream’, stating that he was ‘confident’ that he could make it happen.

The researchers hope that regrowing teeth will become a ‘third choice’ alongside implants and dentures.

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