Researchers discover that experimental Alzheimer's drug causes teeth to regrow tissue lost to cavities

A paper from a group of Kings College London researchers documents an unexpected and welcome side effect from an experimental anti-Alzheimer's drug called Tideglusib: test subjects experienced a regeneration of dentin, the bony part of teeth that sits between the pulp and the enamel.

The drug stimulates brain-cell regeneration. But when it is applied topically to teeth, it suppressed the release of a kind of tau protein, which allowed them to sprout new stem cells, which led to the replenishment of dentin.

The King’s College researchers put the enzyme inhibitor on biodegradable collagen sponges, stuck them in subjects’ teeth where cavities had formed and found they healed up without the need for any drilling or filling.

“Using a drug that has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease provides a real opportunity to get this dental treatment quickly into clinics,” Sharpe said in a release.

Promotion of natural tooth repair by small molecule GSK3 antagonists [Vitor C. M. Neves, Rebecca Babb, Dhivya Chandrasekaran & Paul T. Sharpe/Scientific Reports]

A Drug Meant for Alzheimer’s Treatment Regrows Human Teeth [Meredith Rutland Bauer/Motherboard]

(via JWZ)

Notable Replies

  1. TobinL says:

    If that pans out it will be pretty effin cool.

  2. I expect this will be very heavily decried as a terrible, horrible thing by the American Dental Association, who by extension, will lobby vigorously to make sure clinical trials never get underway in the US. If this stuff ends up becoming legal in Canada, can anyone recommend a good dentist in Windsor, Ontario?

  3. A few months ago, I've complained to my dentist that despite the hype around a few articles years before, we still were not able to make teeth regrow (using stem cells).

    His answer was that we actually were able to do it, but the problem was that the treatment caused cancers in a large number of the animals (rats ?) used to test the technique. So far, nobody had found a way to avoid that. I wonder if this will be plagued with the same issues.

  4. Makes sense. "Cells that have been caused to grow in a way they usually don't" is pretty much what cancer IS.

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