“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,” explained Kylie Ellis, a commercial development manager with the University's Adelaide Research & Innovation (ARI).

In the University's centre for stem cell research, lab studies have shown that stem cells from teeth can develop and form complex networks of brain-like cells.

The reality is that treatment options available to the thousands of stroke patients every year are limited.

“Ultimately, we want to be able to use a patient's own stem cells for tailor-made brain therapy that does not have the host rejection issues commonly associated with cell-based therapies,” Ellis noted.

Another advantage is that dental pulp stem cell therapy may provide a treatment option available months or even years after the stroke has occurred, she added.

"We can do this by providing an environment for the cells that is as close to a normal brain environment as possible, so that instead of becoming cells for teeth, they become brain cells,” Ellis maintained.

This work with dental pulp stem cells opens up the potential for modelling many more common brain disorders in the laboratory, which could help in developing new treatments and techniques for patients.

The results of her work were published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy.

(Agencies)

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