Save the Tooth Fairy Package – Regenerate Mammary Glands
It is widely known that mastectomy is one of the procedures used to treat breast cancer, a type of cancer known to be the most common in women. Over the years, patients have been offered to undergo breast reconstruction to create their breast contour subsequent to mastectomies. Breast reconstruction surgery is the creation of a new breast shape, or mound, using surgery. It may be done after removal of a whole breast (mastectomy) or part of the breast (breast-conserving) and it usually involves several operations to give you the best outcome possible. Choosing whether or not to have breast reconstruction is a very personal decision. Some women feel reconstruction is necessary to restore their confidence, while others prefer to wear an external breast form; and some women choose not to have reconstruction surgery nor wear a prosthesis. Various techniques are currently being used for breast reconstructive surgery, with silicone implants and latissimus dorsi flap being the most popular amongst patients. While both of these remain to be, more or less, sound options, the latter has been proven to have an impact on shoulder function, making it less convenient for individuals who are active 1 , whereas the U.S. Food and Drug Administration identified a possible association between the former and the development of Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)2 . Recent studies have shown that stem cells of the teeth can contribute to the regeneration of non-dental organs, namely mammary glands. This finding could consequently support post-surgery tissue regeneration in breast cancer patients and so offering them an alternative choice.
It has been shown that dental epithelial stem cells (DESCs) are able to generate all epithelial cell populations within incisors during homeostasis. Nevertheless, it has not been clear whether these cells possess the capability to transform into other structures. The plasticity of DESCs was assessed in the context of mammary gland regeneration. The transplantation of DESCs together with mammary epithelial cells into the mammary fat pads resulted in the formation of chimeric ductal epithelial structures in which DESCs adopted all the possible mammary fates including milk-producing alveolar cells. To add onto that, having DESCs inoculated without mammary epithelial cells resulted in the development of small ducts and cysts. This finding could open doors to a new form of reconstructive treatment for breast cancer patients.