Restorative medicine and dentistry are expected to see radical advances after a Harvard research team have shown the ability to use low-power light to drive stem cells to repair tissue. This breakthrough was recently announced in science focused peer journals to a remarkable response from fellow researchers. Leading the study was David J. Mooney, Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Mooney commented on the demonstration, “It would be a substantial advance in the field if we can regenerate teeth rather than replace them.”
The research took place primarily on rodent test subjects and clearly the demonstrated the low-power lights ability to cause stem cells to form dentin, the hard tissue that is close in consistency to bone and is the majority of what makes up teeth.
Working on rodents proved challenging, with the level of dentin much smaller due to the size difference between the animals and humans, causing the researchers to long for the chance to use human subjects.
“This is one of those rare cases where it would be easier to do this work on a human,” remarked Mooney.
The studies consisted of drilling holes in the rodents molars, applying the light treatments and then following up to see how quickly the dentin rejuvenated. High Res x-rays and other examinations confirmed that the dentin content was enhanced by the low-power light.
It’s clear this new information will be put to good use by both dentists and clinicians as the research becomes more widely acknowledged. Human trials are planned next and if they are as successful as this last round of research proved to be, big things are in store for dentistry and beyond.
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