Using stem cells to re-grow craniofacial tissues—mainly bone—proved quicker, more effective and less invasive than traditional bone regeneration treatments, researchers have found in the first human study of its kind.
Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and the Michigan Center for Oral Health Research partnered with Ann Arbor-based Aastrom Biosciences Inc. in the clinical trial, which involved 24 patients who required jawbone reconstruction after tooth removal.
Patients either received experimental tissue repair cells or traditional guided bone regeneration therapy. The tissue repair cells, called ixmyelocel-T, are under development at Aastrom, which is a U-M spinout company.
“In patients with jawbone deficiencies who also have missing teeth, it is very difficult to replace the missing teeth so that they look and function naturally,” said Darnell Kaigler, principal investigator and assistant professor at the U-M School of Dentistry.
“This technology and approach could potentially be used to restore areas of bone loss so that missing teeth can be replaced with dental implants,” Kaigler noted.
William Giannobile, director of the Michigan Center for Oral Health Research and chair of the U-M Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, is co-principal investigator on the project.