What are dental pulp stem cells?
Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) are found in the soft living tissue inside a tooth, called the pulp. As Mesenchymal stem cells, dental pulp stem cells retain the ability to renew themselves by dividing, and can also change into specialized cells.
What can these stem cells do?
DPSCs are able to differentiate into a variety of specialized cell types, including:
- Cardio Myocytes which have the potential to repair damaged cardiac tissue following a heart attack.
- Myocytes which have the potential to repair muscle.
- Osteocytes which have the potential to generate bone.
- Chondrocytes which have the potential to generate cartilage.
- Neuronal cells which have the potential to generate nerve and brain tissue.
- Adipocytes which have the potential to generate fat tissue.
When is the best time to save stem cells?
Deciduous (kids) Teeth
The ideal opportunity to harvest dental stem cells occurs when children and young adults are losing their deciduous (baby) teeth either thorough natural exfoliation or extraction for orthodontia. The teeth that contain the highest quantity and quality of stems will be those that maintain a blood supply until they are harvested.
Another excellent opportunity to harvest dental stem cells occurs when wisdom teeth are extracted from teenagers and young adults. Since these teeth are typically healthy upon extraction, they are also great candidates for harvesting dental stem cells.
While these two opportunities represent the best time to save dental stem cells, all healthy teeth have stem cells, and therefore are potentially good candidates for harvesting dental stem cells.
How long can stem cells be stored?
We know that stem cells from the late 1980’s are still viable. In fact, most research indicates that stem cells frozen through a slow-rate process and stored with liquid nitrogen are viable for an indefinite period.
How are the stem cells stored?
Stem cells are stored individually in a sealed cryo-container. The cryo-container is designed specifically for long-term cryogenic storage.
The container is coded and then placed in a jacketed vapor tank cooled by liquid nitrogen. This type of cooling method prevents all cross contamination.
One-hundred percent of the processed cells are preserved for you and nothing is withheld for our research, a procedure unique to NDPL.
Are these cells currently being used for treatments?
Mesenchymal stem cells shown to be a potent tool in developing treatments for a wide range of diseases and conditions. Researchers are learning more about the role of these dental pulp stem cells in treating conditions such as
- type 1 diabetes
- spinal cord injury
- Crohn’s Disease
- Graft-versus-host disease
- Tissue engineering/wound healing
- Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
- Corneal damage
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Parkinson’s disease
Currently, dental pulp stem cells are being used only in laboratory research settings at this time. While mesenchymal (MSC) cells are currently used in procedures such as bone marrow transplants, MSC cells from dental pulp are not yet being used for medical treatments in the United States.
Why is dental pulp a great source of stem cells?
Unlike the expensive and often painful experience of extracting stem cells from bone marrow and peripheral blood collections, dental pulp stem cells can be harvested without controversy, in an inexpensive, non-invasive manner.
While many people bank their umbilical cord blood stem cells, that is a once in a lifetime opportunity at birth that isn’t always an available option. Also, umbilical cord blood stem cells are hematopoietic stem cells, and are typically only used in blood disease treatments. However, with their ability to differentiate into a wide variety of tissue types, the Mesencyhmal stem cells found in all healthy teeth are already proving to have a major role in the field of regenerative medicine.
What is the AAPD’s Policy on stem cells?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes the emerging field of regenerative medicine and encourages dentists to follow future evidence-based literature in order to educate parents about the collection, storage, viability, and use of dental stem cells with respect to autologous regenerative therapies.
To view the full AAPD policy, click here.
Why do I need my dentist to harvest the teeth?
It is important to have your dentist or oral surgeon work with you to harvest a healthy tooth for preservation because with their help, you will be able to remove the tooth while a good blood supply is still present. If the tooth is allowed to fall out at home, there is less possibility of finding viable stem cells.
I just learned about this opportunity at my dentist on the day of the extraction. Is it too late?
No! Simply enroll with us online, and we will overnight your collection kit to your dentist’s your office. In the meantime, your dentist will place the tooth/teeth in a sterile saline solution and store at room temperature until the kit arrives the next day. Upon receipt of the kit, your dentist will transfer the tooth / teeth into the collection kit vial, and the kit will be ready for pickup!
How do you prevent the stem cells from damage during the freezing process?
NDPL’s processing technique follows the FDA guidelines of minimal manipulation. The stem cells are prepped for slow-freeze by using a cryoprotectant which prevents damage. The cryoprotectant is washed out of the stem cells in the thawing. Research has shown that this methodology is the most successful in terms of cell recovery.
What security systems are in place to protect stem cells during long-term storage?
Our cryogenic facility maintains multiple levels of security. This includes back up alarm systems, 24 hour on-call staff, 24 hour temperature monitoring, and a gravity driven liquid nitrogen system which does not depend on electricity.
What is the difference between a donation to science and private banking?
When deciding what to do with your dental pulp stem cells you have three choices:
- Donate them to science
- Privately bank them
- Discard them as medical waste
NDPL is a private bank and provides clients the opportunity to exclusively store stem cells for personal use. NDPL is also a research institution and takes donated teeth to advance the science of cryopreservation and stem cell application.
Is NDPL public or privately owned?
We are a privately owned family bank. As part of the New England Cryogenic family, our laboratory and storage facility has been in business since 1971. We have provided high-quality cryogenic services to the medical community over the span of two generations, and have been successfully processing stem cells since 1995.
How many privately banked samples does the company have?
We have over 100,000 cell and tissue units stored in our on-site cryogenic facility serving our domestic and international clients.
Can I give stem cell banking as a gift?
Absolutely! Anyone can give the gift of dental stem cell banking to another individual. Whether you’re a grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend, it is easy to open an account for your friend or family member. Simply enroll online or contact us at 774-843-2984 and a customer service representative will get you setup for a Gift Registry!
How does NDPL ensure the confidentiality of personal information?
NDPL does not share your information with any third party. We adhere to strict government regulations as well as HIPAA laws. The security of your personal information and stem cells is of utmost importance to us.
Does NDPL accept transfers of stem cells currently stored with other banking companies?
Yes, NDPL will accept stem cell units currently stored with other banking companies. The private owner of the stem cell unit is responsible for any fees associated with the transfer and will be billed the annual storage fee.
What if you live outside of the US?
As a global leader in stem cell collection and storage, NDPL is able to serve clients in many international countries. Please contact us to see if we’re able to serve your particular country. If you’re in South America, we have affiliate offices located throughout the continent. Our international affiliates will take care of all the details, including providing a collection kit for your dentist, sending your dentist guidelines, and making arrangements for our international courier to ship your dental pulp to our US facility.