In the mind of those who dedicate themselves to science, ideas are not the result of chance. They arise from research and tenacious dedication to achieve that discovery that can improve the lives of many people. This is precisely what the team led by Salvador Martínez has achieved at the Institute of Neurosciences of Alicante (IN), a joint center of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH), which, In collaboration with the Murcian Institute for Biosanitary Research (IMIB), it has managed to demonstrate that baby teeth provide a highly valuable source of information for the treatment of rare diseases.
Martinez This study started almost six years ago. Since then, his team of scientists has analyzed dozens of baby teeth, freshly extracted, from children with autism, Rett syndrome, adrenoleukodytrophy and other leukodystrophies. The conclusion they have reached represents an international discovery: dental pulp cells can help improve treatments or therapies for people who suffer from rare diseases, especially those associated with neurodegenerative pathologies.
In a telephone conversation with Antena 3 Noticias, Dr. Martínez explains that by examining that dental pulp or baby tooth, they realized that “there are neural crest progenitor cells that during development can become neurons” and, in this way, “We now have a valid human model to test substances that can improve the functioning of these cells.” The objective is, adds the scientist, “to develop new therapies to improve the quality of life of people suffering from rare diseases.” As Martínez explains, “we know that healthy cells can help diseased cells improve their function” and, now, “for the first time, it has been possible to obtain functional neurons from dental pulp cells.”
Martínez also appreciates the participation of the San Juan de Alicante Hospital in the research work they are carrying out. In the methodology, spontaneity and speed in the treatment of the samples have been key, “since obviously the teeth of milk fell to children naturally and they were immediately collected by the team or guarded under conservation guidelines with the minor’s own saliva so that they did not lose their properties.”
Right now, Martínez tells us, they continue to strive to advance new findings within the same line of research together with The Walk On Project Foundation (WOP) to help patients with adrenoleukodytrophy. Looking to the future, they dream of being able to create a kind of baby tooth cell bank to help people suffering from diseases in the most efficient way possible.
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