A Japanese pharmaceutical startup is set to launch clinical trials on a drug that has been used to grow new teeth in animals. Toregem BioPharma, is expected to begin testing on humans in July of the following year. The drug has already been used in mice to grow new teeth five years ago. According to the Japan Times, the drug is expected to be used in clinical trials on humans beginning in July of the next year. “This is something I’ve been working on since I was in graduate school,” Takahashi said, according to the Mainichi (Japan’s national daily). “I was sure I could do it. It’s every dentist’s dream to grow new teeth.”
In his research at Kyoto University that began in 2005 Takahashi discovered that a gene in mice had an effect on tooth growth. Since then, scientists have been working to develop a neutralizing antibody medicine that blocks this gene. Takahashi and his team have now tested the theory that blocking this protein could lead to more teeth growth. After testing on mice, they conducted similar positive tests on ferrets, an animal with a similar dental structure to humans. Now, testing will be done on healthy adult humans, and if successful, they plan to launch a clinical trial of the drug in 2025 for children aged two to six who have an anodontic disorder that leads to six or more missing teeth. The Japan Times reports that the children will be given a single dose to see if the drug induces tooth growth. If the drug is successful, it could be approved for regulatory use by 2030.
Takahashi believes the new drug could be used as a substitute for dentures and implants for those who do not have full teeth. “In the future, we hope that tooth-regrowth medicines will become the third choice after dentures and implants,” Takahashi said in an interview.