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Children's Teeth in Stem Cell Research

According to experts, children's teeth may hold promise to effective treatments for various diseases, including Parkinson's and diabetes. The recent discovery points at the stem cells contained in the pulp chamber of children's teeth.

The cells found in the children’s teeth are of the same type as stem cells used to repair damaged hearts in research at the University of Miami. Therefore, officials at GeneCell International address parents in order to bank stem cells from the dental pulp.

Normally stem cells from the teeth can be collected only when the tooth becomes loose and fall out. If the tooth is extracted and the bleeding occurs, the blood enters the tissue inside the tooth and stem cells die.

The process of tooth collection would look as follows. A dentist extracts the loose tooth, puts it in a special bottle, and sends it to GeneCell's laboratory. There stem cells would be frozen and stored at 340 degrees below zero.

The cost for processing and storage of stem cells from up to four teeth would equal $695 per year or $2,295 for 20 years.

While some researchers hope that in the stem cells from children’s teeth could be used for treating Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, diabetes etc., others are not that sure in these cells applicability in the future. In particular, they doubt if these cells would be good to use decades later when they might be needed.