Purified silk strands provided the scaffolding for a matrix of rat salivary cell glands developed from stem cells, according to new research from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Salivary stem cells have historically been difficult to grow in culture while retaining their function. Silk was selected as the cell scaffolding because it is organic (biodegradable), flexible, porous – providing amply access to oxygen – and does not cause inflammation.
Replenishing salivary cells in patients with head and neck cancer and Sjögren’s syndrome will provide numerous health benefits, aiding with speaking, swallowing, initial food digestion and preventing oral infections. These vital functions are all compromised without adequate saliva production.
“Retention of salivary gland cell properties has not been possible using other tissue culture techniques. This unique culture system has great potential for future salivary gland research and for the development of new cell-based therapeutics.” Dr. Yeh explained. In humans, stem cells may eventually be transplanted into damaged salivary glands to promote tissue repair or possibly replace damaged glands.
Presently there is no treatment for low-producing or nonfunctioning salivary glands, and the glands have little regenerative capability. Yet the essential functions performed by salivary glands underscores the promise of these advances and suggests avenues for future research. As personalized regenerative medicine advances, autologous stem cells will become an invaluable resource to families and individuals who seek to ensure that they will have access to the best in medical care should the need for it arise. One of the most convenient and affordable sources for recovering and banking your own stem cells is dental stem cells. To learn more about how to bank dental stem cells for use in future therapies and treatments, visit StemSave or call 877-783-6728 (877-StemSave) today.
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