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    The end of root canals? Revolutionary ‘stem cell fillings’ trigger teeth to repair themselves

    Researchers from the University of Nottingham and the Wyss Institute at Harvard University developed the therapeutic synthetic, light-curable, biomaterials.
    They allow native dental stem cells inside teeth to repair and regenerate dentin.
    Dr Adam Celiz, Marie Curie Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, said: ‘Existing dental fillings are toxic to cells and are therefore incompatible with pulp tissue inside the tooth. 
    ‘In cases of dental pulp disease and injury a root canal is typically performed to remove the infected tissues.
    ‘We have designed synthetic biomaterials that can be used similarly to dental fillings but can be placed in direct contact with pulp tissue to stimulate the native stem cell population for repair and regeneration of pulp tissue and the surrounding dentin. 
    ‘Our approach has great promise to impact the dental field and this prize provides a great platform to develop this technology further with industrial partners.’
    The research won second prize in the materials category of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition 2016. 
    David Mooney, the Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering at the John Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, added: ‘These materials may provide an effective and practical approach to allow a patient to regenerate components of their own teeth.’
    Dr Kyle Vining, DDS, Fellow at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University said: ‘We are excited about the promise of therapeutic biomaterials for bringing regenerative medicine to restorative dentistry.’
    Applications were judged on the degree of innovation of the technology, its potential impact, and the quality of the science behind it.  
    Dr Steve Pleasance, Head of Industry at the Royal Society of Chemistry said: ‘Increasing innovation in the chemical sciences is one of the key elements of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s industry strategy. ‘ 
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