Filling material that ‘heals teeth’ singled out for award

Therapeutic biomaterials bring regenerative medicine to restorative dentistry

Therapeutic biomaterials are bringing regenerative medicine to restorative dentistry

A team behind regenerative dental fillings that could help heal teeth has been awarded a Royal Society of Chemistry prize.

Researchers from the University of Nottingham and the Wyss Institute at Harvard University have developed therapeutic, synthetic, light-curable biomaterials for dental treatments that support native dental stem cells inside teeth to repair and regenerate dentine.

The approach could impact millions of dental patients each year by dental fillings that help heal teeth when they are injured from dental disease or dental surgery.

The research won second prize in the materials category of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies competition 2016.

Dr Adam Celiz, Marie Curie research fellow at the University of Nottingham, said: ‘Existing dental fillings are toxic to cells and are therefore incompatible with pulp tissue inside the tooth. In cases of dental pulp disease and injury a root canal is typically performed to remove the infected tissues.

‘We have designed synthetic biomaterials that can be used similarly to dental fillings but can be placed in direct contact with pulp tissue to stimulate the native stem cell population for repair and regeneration of pulp tissue and the surrounding dentine. Our approach has great promise to impact the dental field and this prize provides a great platform to develop this technology further with industrial partners.’

Dr Kyle Vining, fellow at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University said: ‘We are excited about the promise of therapeutic biomaterials for bringing regenerative medicine to restorative dentistry.’

Applications were judged on the degree of innovation of the technology, its potential impact, and the quality of the science behind it. The group will receive tailored business support from a multinational partner companies, business training, media support, and a cash prize of £3,000.

Dr Steve Pleasance, head of industry at the Royal Society of Chemistry said: ‘Increasing innovation in the chemical sciences is one of the key elements of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s industry strategy.

‘Our Emerging Technologies competition, now in its fourth year and supported by our industry partners, is proving to be highly successful in accelerating the commercialisation of the cutting-edge research taking place in both universities and small companies.’

Winning the competition gives businesses the platform they need to make the industry aware of their technology. Since the initiative began in 2013, winners have gone on to raise a combined total of more than £16 million in further funding, grown their companies and entered commercial contracts.


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    Im a dentist and this is very exciting news. But as with all new developments it often takes years to come to market and then it will depend on cost. We already have technology for vaccines that prevent caries (tooth decay) and drills that are silent but I don’t have a clue how you can get hold of either at the moment. There is a couple biocompatible materials already which are used in certain circumstances but they are hugely expensive and out of the reach of many. But this is the first regenerative to pulp material I’ve heard of.

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