Hyderabad: Stem cells from the pulp of milk teeth and also wisdom teeth are being increasingly stored as these cells can be used to treat muscular dystrophy, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and also cancers other than blood cancer.
Families that have a history of genetic diseases or those who have seen their grandparents suffer from diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are approaching genetic experts for recommendations.
With stem cell therapy being the new age treatment modality, experts are advising people to save their stem cells for future. As there was not much awareness earlier for saving and storing of umbilical cord cells, many are now looking at options like milk teeth and wisdom teeth.
Dr K. Satyendra Kumar, prosthodontist, chief dental wing of Yashoda Hospitals said, “There is awareness among a section of patients who are opting for preserving stem cells.
The families come for counseling and are told that the milk teeth will be removed before it begins to fall as the dental pulp is required.
The stem cells are in the dental pulp. It has to be taken out at the right time before the permanent teeth replaces it. The teeth and pulp have to be immediately stored hence they are taken in a refrigeration box and put in the storage bank.” Experts say that milk teeth that fall at home are of no use as the cells in the pulp and teeth die son. Hence the removal of milk teeth has to be planned.
Dr Dilip Kumar, senior musculoskeletal expert said, “A proper examination is carried out and the best pulp of the milk teeth is extracted. In case the milk teeth are missed out, there is also a chance to store stem cells while removing wisdom tooth. But the only hitch is that the tooth must not be infected, broken or damaged. If it is intact and healthy then the stem cells from the pulp of this tooth are also good for storing.”
Many people get their wisdom tooth removed when they are around 20 years old and doctors are counseling them to opt for saving them if there is a family history of diseases.
Senior musculofascial surgeon Dr G. Srinivas Rao said, “The stem cells stored of one child can also be helpful for the siblings in case they suffer from diseases like muscular dystrophy. If the family comes when the child is aged between four and seven years then the treatment outcomes have been positive.”
For storing and using one’s own stem cells, no permissions are required from the Drug Controller General of India. It is only when cultured stem cells from laboratories are used that the permissions are required, said scientist Dr K. Bhusbhan.