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Tooth regrowth medication to be trialled in Japan in world-first

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Clinical trials for the world’s first “tooth regrowth medicine” are set to begin in September at Kyoto University Hospital, researchers announced on May 2.

The initial phase of the trials aims to confirm the medicine’s safety. Following this, the medicine will be administered to patients who are congenitally missing a full set of teeth to evaluate its effectiveness. Researchers are optimistic about making the medicine available by 2030.

Approximately 1% of the population is affected by congenital tooth deficiency. Oligodontia, a condition characterized by the absence of six or more teeth, is hereditary and affects about 0.1% of the population.

Kitano Hospital in Osaka’s Kita Ward, which is participating in the study, stated that the first phase of the clinical trials will run from September this year to August 2025. The medicine will be administered intravenously to healthy individuals to confirm its effectiveness, with 30 males aged 30 to 64 participating. These participants must be missing at least one back tooth to avoid complications if the medicine successfully induces tooth growth. Animal studies have shown no major side effects to date.

In the subsequent phase, the medicine will be administered at Kitano Hospital to patients with congenital tooth deficiency. This phase will involve subjects aged 2 to 7 who are missing at least four teeth from birth.

The tooth regrowth medicine works by deactivating a protein called USAG-1, which inhibits tooth growth. The research team believes that in the future, the medicine could help not only those with congenital conditions but also individuals who have lost teeth due to cavities or injuries.

Lead researcher Katsu Takahashi, head of the dentistry and oral surgery department at Kitano Hospital, remarked, “We want to help those who suffer from tooth loss or absence. While no treatment to date offers a permanent cure, we believe there is a high expectation for tooth regrowth.”