New teeth grown from human urine
Researchers from the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health in China say they have been able to grow rudimentary forms of teeth from stem cells. But they’ve used a very unusual source–human urine.
For this study, the researchers turned to cells that are normally passed from the body, including those from urine. The cells were then harvested in a laboratory and a mix of them and other materials were implanted into mice. In three weeks, they grew into a bundle of cells that resembled a tooth. The “teeth” contained dental pulp, dentin, enamel space and enamel organ, though they were not as hard as natural teeth.
Despite the promise of this research as a way of replacing lost teeth, other scientists were less enthusiastic. Chris Mason, a stem cell scientist at University College London, for instance, noted that urine is a poor source of stem cells. The risk of contamination is also considerably higher, he said.