UNLV researchers developed a method for extracting tooth root pulp that quadruples the number of stem cells that can be harvested and replicated to treat a variety of medical conditions.
Few research discoveries hold as much promise of single-handedly expanding medical treatment options as they do. Miraculously able to act as transformers—either re-creating or morphing into a variety of cell types found within the organisms they originate from—stem cells offer humanity hope for new, more effective therapies against a number of chronic and terminal diseases. And finding them is surprisingly easy.
“Stem cells can be extracted from nearly any living tissue,” said Dr. James Mah, director of UNLV’s advanced education program in orthodontics, doctor of dental surgery, and dental researcher. “In fact, stem cells can even be found in tissues of the deceased.”
But in spite of all their potential, there’s a catch: “The biggest challenges with stem cells are gathering enough of them to work with and keeping them viable until they are needed,” Dr. Mah said.