Some animals, like crocodiles and geckos, can regrow their teeth, replacing them throughout their lifetime. However, the ability to endlessly replace lost teeth has been beyond human reach for quite a while. Now, though, a team of scientists may have created a tooth-growing drug that lets us regrow teeth that we’ve lost, and it’s set to enter a promising clinical trial very soon.
The trial is set to start in July 2024 and will first focus on participants with tooth agenesis, which is a genetic condition that causes the absence of teeth. The hope is that they’ll be able to regrow the teeth. They also hope to be able to make the treatment widely available to the general public in 2030.
Being able to grow new teeth is a dentist’s dream come true, Katsu Takahashi, the lead researcher on the new drug, said in a statement, according to New Atlas. “I’ve been working on this since I was a graduate student. I was confident I’d be able to make it happen,” Takahashi said.
Researchers discovered that an antibody for uterine sensitization-associated gene-1, known as USAG-1, could stimulate the growth of teeth in mice that have tooth agenesis in an earlier study. The trick, the researchers found, was to block the interaction of this gene with others, which often block the growth of new teeth.
The original study was published in 2021. This new drug could indeed revolutionize how dentists work, especially to combat tooth agenesis and other related issues that lead to tooth loss or lack of tooth growth. Further, it could unlock the ability to replace lost teeth in any patient, which is something that could replace how dentists handle these cases entirely.
Hopefully, we’ll see some good results from the trial and more widespread options for this kind of drug treatment for people who need or want it.