Human embryonic stem cells (hESC) provide a potentially unlimited source of oral mucosal tissues that may revolutionize the treatment of oral diseases. When fully exploited in the future, this source of cells will be able to produce functional tissues to treat a broad variety of oral diseases.
However, little is known about how hESC can be developed into complex, multilayer oral tissues that line the gums, cheeks, lips, and other intra-oral sites. However, the use of hES cells for oral application faces numerous obstacles that must be overcome before their therapeutic potential can be realized.
Today, during the 87th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, investigators from Tufts University in Boston report on their research to optimize the potential of hESC cells to generate complex, functional multilayer tissues, such as the oral mucosa and skin, and to understand how tissue fabrication is controlled and directed.