Scientists Pull Stem Cells From Wisdom Teeth

Researchers say they've found viable alternative to embryonic version
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2008 2:50 PM CDT
Nerve cells, like those pictured here, can be grown from stem cells.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Japanese scientists have sidestepped the controversial use of embryos in stem-cell research by growing the cells from extracted wisdom teeth, the Telegraph reports. Pulp removed 3 years ago from a 10-year-old girl, then frozen, was fostered in a lab, with research-ready stem cells the result. "I hope this will prove to be a major breakthrough," one scientist says.

Stem-cell research, which aims to grow replacement organs and nerves, has drawn criticism from religious groups for using human embryos. But the girl’s teeth “were extracted 3 years ago and would have simply been thrown in the rubbish,” the scientist says. He says the research also indicates that stem cells can be frozen and stored for later use, the BBC adds.