Over the years scientists have made false teeth from a variety of materials – from cuspids crafted out of animal bone to chompers made from wood and gold. However a group of Chinese scientists just announced that they have successfully grown “rudimentary teeth” from an extremely unlikely and slightly unsettling source: human pee. According to the research, published in Cell Regeneration Journal, the tiny tooth-like structures were grown from stem cells harvested from urine.
While the scientists believe it could herald a new, albeit disturbing, age for false teeth, stem cell researchers believe they could have several hurdles to overcome. The Chinese research team, which is based at the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health used urine as it contains cells that are normally passed out of the body – but in the laboratory they can be come stem cells.
These cells were then mixed with organic material to form teeth. However according to BBC News, the “teeth” were not as hard as natural teeth. Unsurprisingly, the experiment has received a large amount of backlash.
Prof Chris Mason, a stem cell scientist at University College London, said to BBC News that urine was a poor starting point and “was probably one of the worst sources [for stem cells]. There are very few cells in the first place and the efficiency of turning them into stem cells is very low. You just wouldn’t do it in this way.”
Prof Mason added: “The big challenge here is the teeth have got a pulp with nerve and blood vessels which have to make sure they integrate to get permanent teeth.”
Yes, there’s that and the fact that many people probably wouldn’t be too keen on urine-based teeth. They’re funny like that.
via BBC News
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