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Clinical trials begin for drug that regrows teeth

Japan pharma startup developing world-first drug to grow new teeth enters clinical trials (Image:Toregem Biopharma & Canva)

Wed. 27 September 2023


Japanese scientists are on the brink of a dental revolution with their new drug that has sparked hope for growing teeth. Clinical trials are set to begin for Toregem Biopharma’s drug that has successfully grown new teeth in animal test subjects.

In a remarkable breakthrough that could revolutionize dental healthcare, a team of Japanese scientists from the innovative pharmaceutical startup Toregem Biopharma are on the verge of introducing a groundbreaking drug that may enable the growth of new teeth. The development has garnered widespread attention and has raised hopes for individuals suffering from tooth-related issues.

At the forefront of this medical innovation is Dr. Katsu Takahashi, a distinguished researcher and the head of the dentistry and oral surgery department at the esteemed Medical Research Institute Kitano Hospital. Dr. Takahashi's tireless pursuit of a seemingly elusive dream – the regrowth of teeth – began in 2005 when he initiated extensive research at Kyoto University.

The foundation of their groundbreaking discovery hinges on a specific gene found in mice, known as USAG-1, which profoundly influences the development of their teeth. The scientists uncovered the gene's dual role, capable of either promoting or impeding dental growth. The pivotal idea that emerged was to create a "neutralizing antibody medicine" designed to effectively block the adverse effects of the USAG-1 gene, thereby unlocking the potential for tooth regeneration.

Initial experiments conducted on mice yielded promising results as the new medicine induced the growth of fresh teeth, leaving the scientific community astounded. However, the team was not content to rest on their laurels; their ambition extended to validating their findings in animals whose dental patterns closely mirrored those of humans – ferrets.

The ferrets subjected to the experimental drug demonstrated remarkable tooth regeneration. It was a pivotal moment in their journey toward making tooth regeneration come true.

The upcoming phase in this extraordinary odyssey is nothing short of monumental – human trials. The Toregem Biopharma team is poised to commence clinical trials as early as July 2024, marking a critical juncture in their quest to make transformative medicine available to the masses. Their ambitious goal is to bring the drug to market by 2030, ushering in an era where individuals with dental issues can regain their smiles.

However, this story is not solely about adults seeking to replace lost teeth; it carries a message of hope for a select group of children. Those afflicted by anodontia, a rare genetic disorder that results in the absence of six or more baby and/or adult teeth, may find solace in the fact that a clinical trial tailored to their specific needs is slated to commence in 2025.

In conclusion, the chronicle of Toregem Biopharma's relentless pursuit of dental innovation is nothing short of a scientific marvel. The prospect of regrowing teeth has shifted from the realm of dreams to the brink of reality, and it is a testament to the ingenuity and dedication of these visionary scientists. As we stand at the precipice of a dental revolution, the ability to regrow one's teeth may soon be within our grasp.

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