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Revolutionary Tooth-Regrowth Drug Set for Human Trials

In a groundbreaking development that could redefine dental care, the world’s first human trials of a tooth-regrowing drug are expected to begin in September. The drug, which has shown promising results in animal studies, could be commercially available as early as 2030, offering a potential solution to millions of people suffering from tooth loss.

The trial will be conducted at Kyoto University Hospital and will involve 30 men aged between 30 and 64 who are missing at least one molar. The drug, administered intravenously, has previously demonstrated its ability to stimulate tooth growth in ferret and mouse models without significant side effects.

“We want to do something to help those who suffer from tooth loss or absence,” said Katsu Takahashi, chief researcher and head of the dentistry and oral surgery department at Kitano Hospital. “Although until now there has been no treatment that provides a permanent cure, we believe people’s expectations regarding tooth growth are high.”

The drug works by deactivating the uterine sensitization-associated gene-1 (USAG-1) protein, which inhibits the growth of teeth. Blocking USAG-1’s interaction with other proteins encourages bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling, which triggers the generation of new bone.

After the initial 11-month study, the researchers plan to test the drug in patients aged 2 to 7 years who are missing at least four teeth due to a congenital tooth deficiency, a condition that affects about 1% of the population . The team is currently recruiting for this Phase IIa study.

The researchers are also evaluating the possibility of extending the trial to those who are partially edentulous or to people who are missing one to five permanent teeth due to environmental factors. An estimated 5% of Americans are missing teeth, with a higher incidence among older adults.

Molecular biologist and dentist Takahashi has been working on tooth regeneration since 2005. He hopes this treatment is not just reserved for congenital dental diseases but for anyone who has lost teeth, at any age. If successful, this therapy could be available to patients with permanently missing teeth within six years.

Poor dental health has been linked to a wide range of diseases, from heart and brain disease to gingivitis. Therefore, a drug that can regenerate teeth could have far-reaching implications for overall health.

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