Japan’s Pioneering Leap in Dental Regeneration
In a groundbreaking move, Toregem Biopharma, backed by Kyoto University, is pioneering a drug that promises the regeneration of teeth. This development could be a world-first in dental medicine. The startup aims to bring this revolutionary drug to market by 2030.
The potential of the drug first became apparent in 2018 when the research team achieved the growth of new teeth in mice. This promising discovery was further corroborated by successful experiments on ferrets, animals known to have a dental structure closely resembling humans.
The Science Behind Tooth Buds
Humans naturally possess “tooth buds” that have the latent potential to develop into new teeth. These exist alongside the usual primary (baby) and permanent teeth. However, these buds often don’t reach full maturity, fading away with time.
Toregem Biopharma’s innovation lies in its antibody drug, designed to inhibit specific proteins that suppress tooth growth. By targeting these dormant tooth buds, the drug aims to stimulate their growth, turning potential into reality.
Upcoming Clinical Trials
By July 2024, Toregem Biopharma is set to commence clinical trials on healthy adults to ascertain the drug’s safety. Further, a 2025 trial is planned, focusing on children aged 2 to 6 with anodontia, a condition resulting in the absence of some or all permanent teeth. The proposed treatment involves just a single dose with the intention of inducing tooth growth.
Beyond these trials, the company envisions a broader application for their drug, potentially aiding adults who have lost teeth due to decay or other dental challenges.
Katsu Takahashi, the co-founder of Toregem Biopharma and the head of dentistry and oral surgery at Kitano Hospital in Osaka, emphasized the drug’s potential impact. “Missing teeth in children can greatly influence the normal development of their jawbone,” he noted, expressing hope that their innovative drug might offer a profound solution to such issues.