The World’s First Drug to Regrow Teeth Enters Clinical Trials

The ability to grown your own teeth could be just around the corner. A team of scientists, led by a Japanese pharmaceutical startup, are getting set to start human trials on a new drug that has successfully grown new teeth in animal test subjects. Toregem Biopharma is slated to begin clinical trials in July 2024, after it succeeded in growing new teeth in mice for the past 5 years. Dr. Katsu Takahashi, a lead researcher on the project and head of the oral surgery department at the Medical Research Institute at Kitano Hospital, says a particular gene affects the growth of teeth. The antibody for this gene, USAG-1, can help stimulate tooth growth if it’s suppressed, and scientists have since worked to develop neutralizing antibody medicine that’s able to block USAG-1. Now, the team has been testing the theory that blocking this protein could grow more teeth. After success in growing new teeth in mice, the team moved on to ferrets, animals who have a similar dental pattern to humans. Now, testing will turn to healthy adult humans and, if all goes well, the team plans to hold a clinical trial for the drug from 2025 for children between 2 and 6 years old with anodontia – a rare genetic disorder that results in the absence of 6 or more baby and/or adult teeth. If successful, the medicine could be available for regulatory approval by 2030. Takahashi hopes the new medicine could be just another option for those who don’t have a full set of teeth.