Stem cells are a valuable resource in the medical world, due to their ability to transform into a variety of different cell types. They can be harvested from nearly any living tissue and their potential uses are near limitless. But one of the biggest challenges is extracting them in large enough quantities.
Researchers at the University of Las Vegas Nevada discovered that they were able to extract large quantities of stem cells from the root pulp of wisdom teeth. Tooth root pulp contains two kinds of stem cells: pluripotent and multipotent. The former can become any kind of cell from the host organism; the latter can transform into specific kinds of cells within an organism.
Tooth root pulp has long been recognised as an ideal source of stem cells. However, one of the main challenges has been extracting the pulp from the tooth. Past methods have involved drilling or shattering the tooth, but these can lead to low stem cell recovery rates. The solution put forward by the researchers has been to open the tooth using an innovative method similar to cutting glass. A clamp holds the tooth in position and a cutting tool scores the surface to crack it open, leaving two perfect halves. The researchers tested this method on 25 teeth with a 100% success rate. When they tested the samples for viable stem cells they found that the extraction process had resulted in four times the expected recovery success rate.