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Plans Underway for New Tissue Engineering Clinical Facility at the Dugoni School of Dentistry

Dr. Miroslav Tolar, director of TECF

September  16, 2009

The Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry will soon have a state-of-the-art Tissue Engineering Clinical Facility (TECF) for regenerative dentistry treatment and applied research. The school is currently reviewing bids from construction contractors. The TECF is expected to begin operating later this year.

Once the school's TECF is completed, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and platelet-rich fibrin (PRF), which stimulate local stem cells to start regeneration and healing of injured tissues, will be prepared. PRP and PRF can be administered to patients as injectable gels or insertable sheets. Such patient-specific preparations are more efficient and less costly than commercially available products.

Adult mesenchymal stem cells will also be grown and used for augmentation and regeneration of the patient's bone. The patient's own cells will be used, ensuring tissue compatibility.

A relatively new dental field, regenerative dentistry involves using adult stem cells to regrow and replace damaged tissues and bone in the mouth and jaws.

Several departments at the Dugoni School will be making use of these technologies for treatment procedures: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Implant Clinic, Endodontics and Periodontics. Many faculty and clinicians have already joined their efforts in the Regenerative Dentistry Project Working Group.

On the scientific research front, researchers are investigating usage of dental stem cells for regeneration of dentin damaged by inflammation and are developing autologous cartilage applications.

With the TECF in the bidding stage, regenerative dentistry is already making its way into the dental school's curriculum, which is being innovatively revised under the direction of Academic Associate Dean Nader Nadershahi. Seminars on the topic have been included for the first time in the ICS II course directed by Dr. Terry Hoover.

"Tissue engineering is a vital part of our future services to our patients," Dr. Anders Nattestad, professor and Oral Surgery Clinic director, commented. "We need this facility in order to provide optimal care to our patients and it is also important as a teaching tool for our dental student and residents in specialty training. These students will be active in their future clinical settings for well over 30 years and tissue engineering is only in its infancy now - think about what can be done in just 10 years."

"Having worked in the field of tissue regeneration for a number of years, I can clearly see that tissue repair is one of the most rapidly advancing research fields relevant to dentistry today." Dr. Miroslav Tolar, director of TECF, said. "Using of the blood-derived products and patient's mesenchymal stem cells puts the Dugoni School of Dentistry on the forefront of these efforts."

The TECF project is funded by private donations. Space for TECF has been provided by our dental school through the support of Dean Ferrillo and Executive Associate Dean Yarborough.

Category Type: Dental Issues and Research

Contact:  Office of Public Relations, 415.929.6434, pr@pacific.edu