Researchers at King’s College London found that the drug Tideglusib stimulates the stem cells contained in the pulp of teeth so that they generate new dentine — the mineralised material under the enamel.
Teeth already have the capability of regenerating dentine if the pulp inside the tooth becomes exposed through a trauma or infection, but can only naturally make a very thin layer, and not enough to fill the deep cavities caused by tooth decay.
But Tideglusib switches off an enzyme called GSK-3 which prevents dentine from carrying on forming.
Scientists showed it is possible to soak a small biodegradable sponge with the drug and insert it into a cavity, where it triggers the growth of dentine and repairs the damage within six weeks.
The tiny sponges are made out of collagen so they melt away over time, leaving only the repaired tooth.
This wasn’t what they had in mind when Tideglusib was developed: it’s also been investigated as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. But hey, it’s not the first time a drug intended to treat A ended up treating B.
(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)