Researchers will trial a ‘miracle’ drug in 2024 to see if humans can regrow their own teeth
Japanese researchers will soon trial a new drug to help humans regrow their own teeth if they failed to form in childhood or have been lost through injury or decay
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Researchers in Japan are working on a new “miracle” drug that could see humans regrow their own teeth.
From birth we are warned that once our baby teeth fall out and our adult teeth start to grow, that is the final set of natural teeth we’ll ever have. So if you lose adult teeth to decay* or through an accident, you can only replace them with implants* or false teeth.
However, Dr Katsu Takahashi, a lead researcher and head of the dentistry and oral* surgery department at the Medical Research Institute Kitano Hospital, has helped create a “world-first” medicine to stimulate* the regrowth of human teeth.
“The idea of growing new teeth is every dentist’s dream,” Dr Katsu Takahashi said.
The drug works by blocking a gene* called USAG-1, which is responsible for stopping tooth buds in our mouth from ever growing into either baby or adult teeth.
Animal research with the drug has been encouraging. Researchers tested it on mice and ferrets, which have similar tooth buds to humans, and found new teeth grew successfully.
Japanese pharmaceutical* company Toregem Biopharm will trial the drug on humans in July 2024.
Dr Takahashi said the treatment could help people who have a rare genetic disorder* called anodontia*, which is when humans produce no teeth at all in childhood or as adults.
After the necessary tests, researchers hope to make the medicine available to treat kids aged 2 to 6 who have signs of anodontia.
He hopes the new medicine could be a third option for those who want a full, natural smile.
“We’re hoping to see a time when tooth-regrowth medicine is a third choice alongside dentures* and implants,” Dr Takahashi said.
- decay: rotting or going bad
- implants: inserting something into the body through surgery
- oral: to do with the mouth
- stimulate: encourage
- gene: a unit of heredity which is transferred from a parent to their children
- pharmaceutical: relating to medicinal drugs
- genetic disorder: disease caused in whole or in part by a change in the DNA sequence away from the normal sequence
- anodontia: a genetic disorder defined as the absence of all teeth
- dentures: a removable plate or frame holding one or more artificial teeth
1. How does the world-first drug help teeth to regrow?
2. What is anodontia?
3. Why do researchers believe it could work in humans?
4. What part of the mouth is stimulated by the medicine?
5. Regrowing teeth could be a third option in the treatment of missing teeth. Name the other two.
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1. Make Someone Smile
Create a poster. The purpose of your poster is that it should make someone else smile. But you are not allowed to use the word ‘smile’ anywhere on your poster.
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Do you think that it is right or ethical that mice and ferrets were used to test the drugs to regrow teeth?
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After reading the article, use your comprehension skills to summarise in a maximum of three sentences what the article is about.
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Use your VCOP skills to re-read your summary to make sure it is clear, specific, and well punctuated.