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The group at the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health used stem cells from urine to create tiny ‘tooth buds’ that when transplanted into mice grew into tooth like structures , ‘BBC News’ reported.

Stem cells – cells which can grow into any type of tissue,are popular among researchers looking for ways to grow new teeth to replace those lost with age and poor dental hygiene.

The researchers said,”The tooth like structure contained dental pulp,dentine,enamel space and enamel organ. However, the ‘teeth’ were not as hard as natural teeth.”

Professor Chris Mason, a stem cell scientist at University College London, however said, “Urine is a poor starting point. There are very few cells in the first place and the efficiency of turning them into stem cells is very low.” He warned that the risk of contamination,such as through bacteria, was much higher than with other sources of cells.

This is not immediately going to lead to new options for the dentist, but researchers said it could lead to further studies towards “the final dream of total regeneration of human teeth for clinical therapy”.

The study was published in Cell Regeneration Journal.

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