Japanese researchers are working on a world-first drug that could help patients grow completely new teeth, Japam Times reported. Toregem Biopharma, funded by Kyoto University, which is developing the groundbreaking drug is set to conduct clinical trials on healthy adults in July 2024 and wants the drug on the market by 2030.
Notably, humans and animals alike possess ”tooth buds”, that have the potential to become a new tooth, in addition to baby and permanent teeth. However, in most cases, these buds don’t develop and eventually disappear. The company has now developed an antibody drug that inhibits the protein in the mouth that suppresses growth and stops “tooth buds” from developing.
In 2018, the antibody-drug was administered to ferrets, resulting in the successful growth of new teeth. These ferrets had both baby and permanent teeth like humans.
The company plans to conduct trials on patients with anodontia, a congenital condition in which some or all permanent teeth are absent. The children will be injected with one dose to induce teeth growth.
“Missing teeth in a child can affect the development of their jaw bone. We hope the drug will serve as a key to solving those problems,” said Katsu Takahashi, co-founder of Toregem Biopharma and head of dentistry and oral surgery at Kitano Hospital in Osaka.
They are also hoping to utilize the drug in the future for adults who have lost teeth due to cavities.
Toregem’s president Honoka Kiso wrote on the company’s website she had lost teeth due to a bone disease when she was a teenager.
“I wanted to study the cause of my illness and how to regenerate lost teeth. Toregem Biopharma first hopes to treat patients with congenital tooth loss who do not grow permanent tooth buds due to genetic causes. Our final goal is to offer advanced and scientifically driven clinical solutions for the growth of teeth derived from their own tissues,” she said.