It may very well be possible to grow new teeth sometime in the future. In fact, a Japanese company working on a tooth-growing drug is just now slated to enter clinical trials, making it the world’s first drug of its type to make it this far.
The new drug was developed by Toregem Biopharma, a pharmaceutical company based out of Japan. The treatment is an antibody drug that stops the proteins in the mouth that typically suppress tooth growth. The first human clinical trials will kick off in July of 2024, so we still have a few months to wait before we see this in action.
The drug could come to the market as early as 2030, according to how the trials play out, the Japan Times has reported. The company says its “final goal is to offer advanced and scientifically driven clinical solution for the growth of teeth derived from their own tissues.”
The tooth-growing drug works by inhibiting a gene known as USAG-1. This gene typically stops “tooth buds” from developing into baby or permanent teeth. As such, the gene inhibits the growth of new teeth once they have been lost. By stopping the gene completely, the researchers say the new drug will stimulate and allow the growth of these buds.
This should let patients regrow lost teeth. Research on animals was conducted back in 2018, and the drug showed that new teeth were able to grow successfully. In 2025 the company hopes to be able to start up a second round of trials for the tooth-growing drug, which will focus on children between the ages of 2 and 6 who have anodontia. This genetic disorder stops them from developing their permanent teeth.
There’s a good bit riding on how well these drugs do during these trials, so it will be interesting to see where things go from here.