New research has been released that suggests that the chemicals in our mouths that lead to halitosis, or bad breath, may be a breeding ground for stem cells which can be taken from dental pulp.

For those who don’t know, stem cells are human cells that can be harvested only from certain special places. Stem cells are usually found in places where cells have not had a chance to grow into specific location-based cells. Stem cells are unique from fully grown cells because scientists have discovered ways to manipulate the stem cells to change them into cells that are specialized for other areas of the body, whereas fully grown cells cannot be changed like this.

So this study published in the Journal of Breath Research has shown that the hydrogen sulphide that causes bad breath can be manipulated into become liver cells instead of oral cells, allowing them to be used to help people with liver disorders. The researchers now think that these bad breath cells will be a key component in the future of liver cell therapy. The research team is significantly excited about their discovery because it breaks new barriers in the field of stem cell research. The researchers are the first to pull stem cells from dental pulp, and rarely are stem cells produced in such quantities and with such high purity.

“High purity means there are less ‘wrong cells’ that are being differentiated to other tissues, or remaining as stem cells. Moreover, these facts suggest that patients undergoing transplantation with the hepatic cells may have almost no possibility of developing teratomas or cancers, as can be the case when using bone marrow stem cells,” said lead author of the study Dr. Ken Yaegaki.

Stem cell research from other studies has given scientists some pause in the past, as it has been expected that stem cell research may be the key to curing diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Now it is expected that this new research may offer the same hope for sufferers of liver related ailments.

In this study, dental pulp cells were taken from patients during routine exams. Afterward the cells were separated into a test group and a control group. In the test group the cells were incubated in a chamber which was filled with hydrogen sulphide, the bad breath chemical mentioned previously. The cells were then harvested and analyzed after specific periods of time to determine if they would develop into liver cells.

The researchers were careful to test the cells thoroughly for their similarity to liver cells. They found that not only had the cells developed physical characteristics of liver cells that were visible under a microscope, but they had also developed many of the functions and capabilities of liver cells as well.

“Until now, nobody has produced the protocol to regenerate such a huge number of hepatic cells for human transplantation. Compared to the traditional method of using fetal bovine serum to produce the cells, our method is productive and, most importantly, safe” said Dr. Yaegaki.

Researchers are excited about how this bad breath research will help disease research. If you are interested in how we can help you with bad breath please visit our contact us page or call 704-759-0908!

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