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Using Wisdom Teeth To Make Stem Cells

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the spare-parts dept.

Biotech 82

An anonymous reader writes "For most people, wisdom teeth are not much more than an annoyance that eventually needs to be removed. However, a new study appearing in the September 17 Journal of Biological Chemistry shows that wisdom teeth contain a valuable reservoir of tissue for the creation of stem cells; thus, everyone might be carrying around his or her own personal stem-cell repository should he or she ever need some. Groundbreaking research back in 2006 revealed that inducing the activity of four genes in adult cells could 'reprogram' them back into a stem-cell-like state; biologically, these induced-pluripotent stem cells are virtually identical to embryonic stem cells, opening up a new potential avenue for stem-cell therapy whereby patients could be treated with their own stem cells."

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82 comments

Great! (5, Insightful)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 3 years ago | (#33545940)

Could you maybe have told me this _before_ I had them yanked?

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33545990)

This would have ruined the plan of your dental guy's secret plan to acquire loads of stem cells to grow his own army of androids, duh.

Re:Great! (3, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#33547102)

Why would he want an army of cellphones? /duck

Re:Great! (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#33548188)

It was mistakenly called a parade, but a northwestern U.S. clown group just hosted a circus event with the beastly new phone that bites. This cell stemmed from one that was long in the tooth.

Re:Great! (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546020)

Nonsense. Your genetic datas was probably already overly corrupted from coke and coffee. I do not want to see the body parts they may grow from it and attach to you unless you have already had the appropriate gene therapy and enough crest whitening strips. :3

Re:Great! (3, Funny)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546262)

Your genetic datas was probably already overly corrupted from coke and coffee.

Coffee, maybe. The coke just gets snorted though, it never even touches my teeth.

Coke and coffee. How I love my Colombian exports! :)

Re:Great! (1)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546254)

Yeah, I just had mine taken out last week. Now I'm wondering if the dentist still has them and can I get them back?

Re:Great! (1)

Alexandra Erenhart (880036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33548010)

I still have 3 on my jaws, I just had one pulled out because a hard-to-reach cavity transformed into a hole that started to collect food and stuff. And it started to hurt. I didn't want to part with it, I liked to have ALL my teeth. I guess now I appreciate those molars even more!

Oh, and I DID ask for that tooth back. It's in my bathroom now haha.

Re:Great! (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#33548826)

I didn't want to part with it, I liked to have ALL my teeth. I guess now I appreciate those molars even more!

Oh, and I DID ask for that tooth back. It's in my bathroom now haha.

So you do still have all your teeth? :)

Hmmm, maybe I should start keeping my hair before I start balding...

Re:Great! (1)

Rick17JJ (744063) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550070)

I still have 2 of my 4 wisdom teeth. For many years, I did not even realize that I had wisdom teeth, because all 4 grew in sideways and were not visible beneath the gum.

When I was in my 40s, my two lower wisdom teeth were removed. One of the wisdom teeth was causing a very slight problem with keeping my gum clean alongside the next tooth.

Both my dentist and the maxiofacial surgeon said they hope they never have to try to remove the upper two, because it would take dynamite to remove either of them. If I remember correctly, he said that they had grown together against my skull (or something like that).

Fortunately, I still have all my other teeth too.

Re:Great! (1)

Alexandra Erenhart (880036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550626)

There are so many odd things about growing wisdom teeth that I'm amazed they've survived evolution so far. My sister had to get hers removed because 2 of them were growing sideways against the other teeth and they were pushing them together, with the risk of having crooked teeth in a while if she didn't remove them. And the other ones didn't grow completely and they got cavities on the hidden sides so it was dangerous too.

Mine grew up fine, I actually liked having an extra set of chewing teeth. That one only that was hard to brush and got the cavity had to be removed. The rest are fine (so far, but my dentist want to pull them out. I can see $$ signs on her face :P)

Re:Great! (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552016)

i think they survived because the surrounding teeth would either be lost by the time they show up (thanks to no dental hygiene), or the person was already dead from other issues (iirc, the 60+ age of today is not one a human would have expected before the discovery of medicine).

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546652)

From what TFA says, there's no reason any other tooth wouldn't do. If I had a condition that actually needed a stem cell based treatment, replacing a natural tooth with an implant would be an easy trade.

Re:Great! (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#33547166)

You're probably still covered until you run out of teeth. Remember to brush and floss!

Re:Great! (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#33547898)

You're probably still covered until you run out of teeth. Remember to brush and floss!

Why? Now we can just grow new ones!

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33547518)

Won't somebody think of the Wisdom Teeth!!!

Re:Great! (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#33548236)

I can just see it now, rogue dentists abducting people to steal their teeth.
Pretty twisted, might make a good Futurama episode. (Perhaps Benders bolts, or nuts could be a target too)

Re:Great! (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33549084)

Did you have them pulled before September 17th 2010? Because expecting your dentist to follow research that isn't in his field, hasn't been published yet, and likely wasn't even started by the time you had yours out, that's probably unrealistic.

Anyway, wisdom teeth probably aren't the only source of pluripotent stem cells. Work in mouse has shown that their whisker bulge carries neural crest stem cells, trials are underway to see if these cells can fix damaged spinal cords.

Re:Great! (1)

humblecoder (472099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33549610)

I never had wisdom teeth so I guess I am out of luck, too. Funny thing is that I never had any wisdom either, so go figure.

Re:Great! (1)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33549906)

I never had wisdom teeth so I guess I am out of luck, too.

Hah! I'll bet you never had any-

Funny thing is that I never had any wisdom either, so go figure.

Aw crap!

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550574)

I was thinking the same thing. I just had mine removed a month ago!!! On top of that, one of the results from the surgery was I've no longer got feeling in the left side of my tongue. If I still had my wisdom teeth I'd now be able to get them to regrow my lingua nerve to fix the issue!!!

And baby teeth (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33545984)

They too have stem cells. I told me niece's mom to save her baby teeth, but of course she didn't listen and threw them in the trash. (sigh). She also claims she didn't know the sun would cause her skin to freckle & wrinkle and wish someone had warned her (which I did; as did many many government PSAs). I wonder why it is some people don't listen?

Anyway if you have kids save their teeth.

Re:And baby teeth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546026)

Cells will not survive in baby teeth lying at the bottom of your drawer. Give the damned teeth to the tooth fairy.

Re:And baby teeth (4, Informative)

durrr (1316311) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546030)

Unless you properly freeze the teeth the stem cells will probably be quite dead a few days after the teeth is pulled, not to mention a few decades later when stem cells might be in need.

Re:And baby teeth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546034)

And does your niece's mother have a facility to handle liquid nitrogen in order to properly store these teeth for possibly decades? You can't chuck them in a cupboard for 70 years and pull them out hoping to find viable material. Maybe people don't listen to you because you give stupid advice?

Re:And baby teeth (3, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546042)

some biology 101 for you, the pulp of those teeth are dead without living tissue in them. The roots are dissolved by the body and the tissues inside die.

Re:And baby teeth (-1, Troll)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546080)

They don't listen to you because you say dumb things. A bunch of dried up old teeth sitting around in a drawer are going to provide viable stem cells later in life. Riiiiiiight.

Re:And baby teeth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546204)

You got any baby teefs?

I pay top dollar.

Just wisdom teeth? (3, Interesting)

mibe (1778804) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546064)

It seems from everything I've read that any teeth will do. Kids' baby teeth and wisdom teeth have been mentioned, but why not any other tooth? Wisdom teeth are anatomically similar to the rest of your teeth, so I don't think anyone willing to give up one of their permanent teeth will be excluded from any awesome stem cell therapy in the future.

Re:Just wisdom teeth? (4, Funny)

durrr (1316311) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546084)

In the future, you'll see toothless guys hauling dick on wheelbarrows.

Re:Just wisdom teeth? (2, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546100)

From TFA, it sounds as though any tooth will do, but you probably don't want to suck all the pulp out of the teeth that are still in your mouth. Wisdom teeth are usually taken out anyway, which is what makes them a convenient option.

Re:Just wisdom teeth? (1)

geogob (569250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546152)

If it's what it needs to grow me back a new heart, lung, kidney, liver or leg when I need one, I'd gladly give a tooth or two for it. And technically, if that works, maybe they can grow the tooth back afterward...

Re:Just wisdom teeth? (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546224)

I agree 100%

As a matter of fact, i would gladly walk around with a set of false teeth if it meant that i could use the one's i've got to get a few functioning organs.

Re:Just wisdom teeth? (1)

popeye44 (929152) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546228)

There was an article here about a year ago. It mentioned that very thing. They believe they will be able to cause you to grow specific teeth. The time frame mentioned was around the 10 year mark. It also required a Wisdom tooth as a basis.

Islam is the shelter of murderers and liars (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546136)

Fuck their lies. Fuck Islam. They lie to non-Muslims to hide their real intentions of a tyrannical Muslim rule across the planet. You think the American Christian is bad? Wait until Muslims are raising hell in the streets like they did in France.

You have more than one tooth. (4, Interesting)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546236)

At least, most people do. The root pulp cells being converted to stem cells are not unique to the wisdom teeth. I presume they are also present in other teeth; it's just that the third molars are usually extracted anyway (though some people do retain them, provided there's enough space in the dentition for them). If we're talking about choosing to treat a life-threatening disease versus keeping a tooth, I would think most people would choose the former--of course, we aren't quite at the point where such procedures are beyond the research stage (thanks to the religious nutcases).

Re:You have more than one tooth. (0, Flamebait)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546256)

Haven't you heard? Stem cells == Dead Babies. And don't bother trying to convince them otherwise - they know better!

Re:You have more than one tooth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33548880)

Why was this modded flamebait? I have no doubt some of the religious right are planning a protest as we speak.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553994)

Haven't you heard? Stem cells == Dead Babies. And don't bother trying to convince them otherwise - they know better!

Wait, does this mean that... pulling wisdom teeth out == Dead Babies? And I did it completely voluntarily, so I'm a murderer! Aargh.

Oh well, better go make some more babies to compensate.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546774)

How exactly does restricting embryonic stem cell research interfere with research on adult stem cells again?

Re:You have more than one tooth. (3, Insightful)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546912)

One could argue that adult stem cell research has been spurred because of restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. But that view fails to recognize that in order to obtain adult stem cells, one has to go through more involved processes just to get the cells in a potentially useful state--in fact, that is what makes the approach discussed in TFA interesting (that one has a better chance of getting such cells from the root pulp in teeth, than say, skin cells).

Thus, restrictions on embryonic stem cells have seriously slowed down research into how we can use stem cells (of any kind) to treat disease, because not only do scientists have to figure out how to get adult stem cells to do what they want, they also have to GET TO THEM. We would know more about all kinds of stem cells if public funding existed for embryonic stem cell research. Instead, researchers have to expend extra effort getting adult cells to revert to a pluripotent state, instead of being able to concentrate on understanding how such cells could be used to treat disease. We are nowhere near solving the problems of how to get these cells to do what we would like them to do, because it is so insanely fucking difficult to get them to begin with, and if you think that this has nothing to do with the religious nutcases, you are oblivious to reality.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (3, Insightful)

priegog (1291820) | more than 3 years ago | (#33547224)

The embryonic stem cells ban didn't apply to the rest of the world, and still no therapies have derived from embryonic stem cells (wan't there a site devoted to reporting in these?). There are, however, a couple of therapies derived from adult stem cells, both from the US and from other countries.
Restricting science is short-sighted and all, but I never really cared for research coming from embryonic stem cells (it just seemed the WRONG approach altogether, when any resulting therapy would need to have the patient placed on lifelong immunosupression, like any transplant patient; but feel free to call me shortsighted).
You also need to consider that Bush's ban allowed for research to continue on EXISTING cell lines, and those were pretty plentiful (you know, being stem cells and as such immortal).

I just feel the level of outrage on this particular issue has been very disproportionate; and that it has turned more into an anti-religious argument than a pro-science one.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 3 years ago | (#33547814)

I just feel the level of outrage on this particular issue has been very disproportionate; and that it has turned more into an anti-religious argument than a pro-science one.

It's difficult to be pro-science without some religious nutjobs thinking that you're talking anti-religion. That's just the way it is. As for the Bush stem cell policy, it's akin to the Broken Window Fallacy, [wikipedia.org] which has been proven not to help the economy. In other words, perhaps it could be argued that we're further along with adult stem cell research than we otherwise would have been; but it could also be argued that people have died who otherwise would not have needed to, if we had continued research uninterrupted.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (1)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 3 years ago | (#33548580)

but it could also be argued that people have died who otherwise would not have needed to, if we had continued research uninterrupted.

Well, all except for that little bothersome detail about no actual therapies being derived yet from embryonic stem cells in the dozens of other countries completely unaffected by the ban. Because there is no other place doing science outside of GOD BLESS MURRICA!

I'll take a therapy that doesn't require immunosuppressants, tyvm.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33548690)

Wow, what a staggering level of misinformation you've perpetuated!

1) It is not true that there is no human embryonic stem cell based treatment like you say; Geron has an FDA-approved phase I human clinical trial underway [singularityhub.com] that is based on oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (GRNOPC1) derived from hESCs that will be used to treat paralyzed patients.

2) It is not true that, like you incorrectly state, "any resulting therapy would need to have the patient placed on lifelong immunosupression." Using a technique known as "Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer," it is possible to remove the embryonic DNA and replace it with the patient's own DNA, creating immune-compatible tissue for the patient.

3) Another misinformed line you bring up "[the] ban allowed for research to continue on EXISTING cell lines, and those were pretty plentiful." Firstly of all, "pretty plentiful" is pretty subjective. MOST of the so-called preexisting lines (more than half of which were outside the US, btw) were only "potential" lines, not established lines. Overtime, the technology to derive new SC lines advanced and resulted in "better" lines, but the pre-approved lines remained relatively poor in comparison -- that's the stuff scientists had to work with.

It's also important to remember that hESC were isolated in the late 1990s. Adult SC have been around for the better half of the last century. That's why there are more adult stem cell treatments. The research value of hESC cannot be understated. A lot of what we know about culturing induced pluripotent stem cells (the much-talked-about replacement for hESC) comes from hESC research.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (1)

priegog (1291820) | more than 3 years ago | (#33549800)

Oh how I love a good anonymous response.

1) Oh cool, I didn't know about that one. Except it's not a therapy yet. I read it, and am at least mildly curious as to what they mean by "phase 1 clinical trials" (since, if you know anything about those, are done on HEALTHY people to establish safe dosages, pharmacokinetics, that sort of thing... In therapies that are not ethically acceptable to use healthy people for them, they'll jump directly to phase 2 trials). I'm sure it's just a journalistic error, though, so nevermind. It also doesn't say how they're planning to handle the rejection thing. I don't want to seem like i'm crapping on this to defend "my point" (which is on the side of science, mind you), but it still has a long way to go to see if it'll even work. As a cheap-shot comparison, bear in mind that the most horrifying forms of cancer have also been cured on rats (and AIDS in monkeys, IIRC).
Hope it works (I really do), but even if it did not much would change in terms of the validity of my points. AND whatever they do, could very PROBABLY be done 1000x better with adult stem cells, if it weren't a company so hellbent on working the political angle, and following on Chris Reeve's "footsteps".

2) Oh, I think what you're referring to is actually ADULT STEM CELLS then. That is indeed one way to de-differentiate adult cells. It doesn't work very well, though. It does make more sense to research THIS path, now, doesn't it?

3) Well, that's just argumentative. I don't know exactly how many cell lines where available, but they WERE available (how many different do you think you'd need?), and besides that's completely ignoring that little tidbit of information that this nonsense only happened in the US. The rest of the world kept on spinning, and losing interest in hESC.

Adult SC have NOT been around that long, what were known as adult stem cells up until very recently were somewhat more differentiated cells. Which was the reason for wanting to research with TRULY omnipotent cells (hESC). Since a few years ago a number of methods have been popping up about creating these sorts of absolutely primitive cells from adult tissues (like TFA). And that's when hESC stopped being relevant in my book.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#33560946)

I just feel the level of outrage on this particular issue has been very disproportionate; and that it has turned more into an anti-religious argument than a pro-science one.

The retards who started the argument were doing it for religious reasons, it serves them right if the associated publicity makes people realise how stupid religion is in general.

The more the Pope drones on about how condoms cause AIDS, the quicker he is bringing about the enlightened overthrow of these Dark Ages throwbacks.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (1)

priegog (1291820) | more than 3 years ago | (#33561674)

Let's see:

- Name calling
- "they did it first"
- Feeling superior to the vast majority of the population
- Misquoting

Did I miss anything? Oh right. You failed to point out a single counter-argument AND you turned this even further into the debate that it is not. You couldn't be more of a cliché for your typical radical "ultra-scientific" person. And I quote it, of course, because true scientists and rational-thinking people would facepalm at seeing such an ignorant, pointless, empty, off-topic and hateful comment.

Congratulations, you've turned into everything you hate about what you seemingly perceive "religious people" to be.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (2, Insightful)

mibe (1778804) | more than 3 years ago | (#33547188)

Embryonic SC restrictions necessitated adult stem cell research, they didn't interfere with it. However, SC research as a whole was slowed down because of these restrictions. I'm not making a moral argument, it is just the inescapable conclusion that restricting use of embryonic SCs so heavily resulted in a much slower rate of advancement of stem cell technologies and treatments. We no longer had the ability to work with those versatile cells that were already available (once again, moral concerns aside, they weren't being used and were in many cases destined for destruction anyway; nobody was getting women pregnant with the express purpose of destroying the resulting conceptus for research purposes) and so had to develop wholly new techniques to generate these cells. It set us back.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33549392)

How do you turn a stem cell into the tissue you're trying to make? The answer to that question turns out to be incredibly complicated, which is why we can't yet take ANY stem cell, adult, embryonic, or induced pluripotent, and make it into a vat of neurons of a specific type. We are finding out how it happens naturally by studying embryos, and we are finding out how we can do it by studying stem cells in culture.

Studying ESC is essential to this process. If you have a stem cell culture and are trying to make a specific type of neurons, you'll probably be adding mixtures of growth factors that mimics what you'd find in the developing embryo brain. If you're using adult stem cells and don't get the desired target, that might be that the mixture didn't work, or it could be that adult cells wont turn into those cells.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546972)

I have never heard of any group, religious nut cases or otherwise, protesting adult stem cell research. Quite the opposite. One of the principal arguments made by those who oppose embryonic stem cell research is that the same or better treatments can be accomplished through adult stem cell research. In fact, virtually all therapeutic procedures that have so far been developed from stem cells have involved the use of adult stem cells.

I support embryonic stem cell research. But unless and until someone comes of with an actual treatment using embryonic stem cells that cannot be duplicated with adult stem cells, then embryonic stem cell research will be a dead end study. With embryonic stem cells, you will always have the substantial danger of immunological rejection. With your own adult stem cells, there is no danger of rejection.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (1)

mibe (1778804) | more than 3 years ago | (#33547284)

Being able to do the same thing with adult stem cells is not the issue. The issue is that we had to spend (are currently spending) a considerable amount of time figuring out how to reproduce pluripotent stem cells from adult tissue - and then figuring out what to do with them. Consider an alternate history of scientific advancement in which embryonic stem cells were used without as much restriction, treatments created to use them to combat major human illnesses, etc. At the same time (or even afterward, if you prefer), techniques were being developed to generate these same useful cells from adult tissues. The result is the ability to combat illnesses much sooner than the actual course of events, in which we were basically forbidden to develop useful stem cell techniques until we could first figure out how to create them from adult tissues.

Or, how about an analogy? Peanuts are really useful things; they make peanut butter, you can dry roast them, honey roast them, boil them, make peanut brittle, eat them lightly salted, use peanut oil for cooking, etc. But to develop all those useful applications for peanuts, you have to first have peanuts. Now, how about someone says you can not use pre-existing peanuts that are laying around, but must instead figure out how to optimally grow peanuts, and then use those? Which of these will lead more rapidly to the development of peanut butter? A flawed analogy, as most are, but I think communicates my point fairly well.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (1)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 3 years ago | (#33547596)

References please. Show where embryonic stem cells from harvested embryos have treated any illness in humans successfully. No, umbilical cord blood and the like don't count. Show me where the protested embryonic stem cell research has successfully treated anything in humans.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33551100)

You obviously didn't bother to read what the parent said at all. Doubt you'll read what I say, but here I go feeding the troll.

It is very difficult to use embryonic stem cells in direct treatments. At best, it could only have half of your genetic makeup, and likely still suffer rejection issues. The point the parents however was making is that embryonic stem cells take almost 1/10th or some other extremely lower amount of time to "proof of concept" a treatment that can then move onto a real treatment where they extract your own adult cells, and work them into the treatment. The difference here is between embryonic vs adult is the blindingly fast speed the discoveries can be made.

It's the kind of thing that can make the ability to have the therapy on the market, and cleared by the FDA in your lifetime within reason. Whereas if they keep having to play with old cells that are not in their closest to most pristine condition it makes things so much harder. It's like drawing on a fresh piece of paper vs a piece of paper thats been used, abused, and erased more times than you can count. Theres going to be issues, and setbacks.

This all is really just another case of religion trying to stop an amazing set of discoveries from happening. Worked great during the dark ages where we as a culture were set so far back it's not funny, and the cycle continues to repeat itself. It's great how short human life, and memory is. These kind of remarks were the same kind that were used when invitro-fertilization was going on, which is where a very large chunk of these embryos are being sourced from. Doc makes a whole crapton of embryos, picks his choice that he thinks has the best chance of becoming a human being, and otherwise would send the rest off for destruction. It's not even that they are being created with this purpose, they were created without any intent for this use but something else, and are now the leftover scraps that would be discarded anyways. It's foolish to waste a few cells that are already there, at least with stem cell research they have some semblance of usefulness.

Oh, and one more thing, this kind of crap is whats going to get America, and a few other countries left in the dust. Doctors in countries with more concern for people alive, and kicking let this kind of thing go on because they see the purpose. They have the research, they have the people proficient in it, and they bring money to the country (like Thailand) because people can't get these amazing treatments in their homeland because of shortsightedness, and being blinded by the holy light. Plus something even worse happens because of this, these countries that do it, usually don't have allot of accountability so verifying the treatment is legitimate, or not something that should still be tested in chimps still can, and has caused many people great health problems.

These kind of arguments are like the head of PETA bitching that animal testing is horrible, but he sure as hell won't go without his diabetic medication which has it's history rooted in animal testing. You know if there was some life threatening ailment you or your child had, you would go for it. Wether it had it's roots in embryonic research or not. America will not decide for the world on this, the world will likely end up having to decide for America. That or religion will have to be expunged from politics forcibly.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33548128)

As far as I am aware, the one can obtain mesenchymal stem cells [google.com] (the kind the researchers found in wisdom teeth) in garden variety bone marrow. The kind every has. Getting bone marrow samples is slightly unpleasant (about on the level of having your wisdom teeth removed) and technically quite easy.

So I don't really see the whoopy factor in this.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (1)

WaroDaBeast (1211048) | more than 3 years ago | (#33548278)

it's just that the third molars are usually extracted anyway (though some people do retain them, provided there's enough space in the dentition for them).

True that — it all depends on what available space there is. My teeth are so big, I had my lower wisdom teeth and all four second molars extracted as a kid. I only have 24 teeth! :B

On a side note, my upper wisdom teeth haven't grown yet and it's been practically ten years since I had my lower wisdom teeth extracted... Now, that's weird.

Re:You have more than one tooth. (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 3 years ago | (#33571876)

I don't know of any religion that is against ADULT stem cells or cord blood cells. The ones that are harvested from embryos, yes, but adult and cord cells are no problem.

You don't get that the argument is terminating a life to harvest embryonic cells, I take it?

Wow! (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546318)

Had we known they were THAT wise, would we have been so cavalier about pulling them?

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546684)

Actually, they're usually extracted for orthodontic reasons; not pulling them out at an early age if they aren't growing in right can lead to crowding or other problems like root resorption if they're not fully erupted or a really bad toothache later on.

I'd sacrifice a tooth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33546366)

If I ever need stem cells, I'd gladly give up one of my dumber teeth too!

WooHoo! I've still got two! (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33546828)

So what do I do with them? Stem cells do what again? Something I need?

Will they reset my vent fibula, and regrow cartilage, so my ankle doesn't click and hurt?

Will they regrow hair on my head, so I can have it cut again instead of shaved?

Will they help me lose weight?

Will they heal my shoulder tendonitis?

Will they cure my vision [surveyophthalmol.com] problems?

I know, I know, stem cells are expected to cure cancer, autism, diabetes, whatever. Common stuff, not so much. That's the appeal. But the research is dragging on.

However, science can have my teeth when I die. No problem. And everything else.

Stop finding uses for useless body parts (1, Funny)

dawgs72 (1025358) | more than 3 years ago | (#33547014)

Dear Slashdot,

Please stop finding uses for these useless body parts. The day after my appendix was removed I see that they finally discovered a use for the human appendix, and yesterday I get my wisdom teeth pulled.

No more body parts removed for me.

Thanks.

Since I don't have my wisdom teeth any more... (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33547150)

... perhaps I could borrow some stem cells long enough to grow some new wisdom teeth from them?

Wont somebody please think of the children? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33547298)

This article offends my moral decency. Teeth are people too you know.

A little late.. (1)

Jakeva (1429603) | more than 3 years ago | (#33548078)

thanks science. always making advances after the point of usefulness has come and gone. Maybe my teeth are still in a bag somewhere....

Its like pulling teeth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33550378)

No need to pull your teeth out. Roughly 1% of the cells in your blood are adult hematopoietic stem cells that can also be induced pluripotent. They can be sorted out using a variety of means, and recent advances in magnetic cell sorting ( http://www.ikotech.com/ ) can sort them in bulk volumes large enough to use for transplant.

Wait a minute... (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550588)

What you're telling us is that there's a source for stem cells that does not require the destruction of a human embryo?

This administration will not find that acceptable.

LK

quit wasting time (1)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550908)

and break out with the human embryos being discarded from fertility labs already

lets quit pansying around and use the best tool for the job

Most people? (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550772)

'wisdom teeth are not much more than an annoyance that eventually needs to be removed' - is this correct? I really hope not. I have mine, they grew with no problems at all and I'm bloody glad to have them.

Old News! (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#33550814)

From Wikipedia: "Potential uses for extracted teeth:

In August 2008, it was revealed that scientists in Japan were able to successfully harvest stem cells from wisdom teeth.[19] This discovery is of great clinical importance, as wisdom tooth extractions are a relatively common type of oral surgery. Patients who have their wisdom teeth removed are currently able to opt to have stem cells from those teeth isolated and saved, in case they should ever need the cells."

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