Stem cells have received a great deal of interest from the research community as potential therapeutic “tools” for a variety of chronic debilitating diseases that lack clinically effective therapies. Stem cells are also of interest for the regeneration of tooth-supporting
tissues that have been lost to periodontal disease. Indeed, substantial data have demonstrated that the exogenous administration of stem cells or their derivatives in preclinical animal models of periodontal defects can restore damaged tissues to their original form and function. As we discuss
here, however, considerable hurdles must be overcome before these findings can be responsibly translated to novel clinical therapies. Generally, the application of stem cells for periodontal therapy in clinics will not be realized until the best cell(s) to use, the optimal dose, and an effective
mode of administration are identified. In particular, we need to better understand the mechanisms of action of stem cells after transplantation in the periodontium and to learn how to preciously control stem cell fates in the pathological environment around a tooth. From a translational perspective,
we outline the challenges that may vary across preclinical models for the evaluation of stem cell therapy in situations that require periodontal reconstruction and the safety issues that are related to clinical applications of human stem cells. Although clinical trials that use autologous
periodontal ligament stem cells have been approved and have already been initiated, proper consideration of the technical, safety, and regulatory concerns may facilitate, rather than inhibit, the clinical translation of new therapies.
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Stem cell-based therapy;
Document Type: Research Article
Department of Periodontology and Oral Medicine, School of Stomatology, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, People’s Republic of China
Publication date: 2013-02-01
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