Many people suffer from jaw discomfort that arise from the gradual wearing down of cartilage- but current solutions only alleviate some of the systems, and do not directly repair the cartilage itself. Now, a recent study in Columbia University Medical Center in New York has revealed a promising solution for joint repair by using stem cell manipulation.
The researchers experimented on mice with TMJ (temporomandibular) degeneration, a breakdown of cartilage/bone in the lower jaw. Transplanting a single stem cell eventually led to the growth of new cartilage and bone, as even began to form a bone marrow niche. This, of course, is a well-known characteristic of stem cells- the ability to transform its typing and specialize into a myriad of body cell types.
The new alternative is not perfect. Common issues with stem cells include its potential rejection from the recipient’s immune system, as well as possibly introducing pathogens or inducing tumors. However, as more research is fueled into developments into the world of dental technology, more innovations are sure to come.