Developed and tested for Alzheimer’s disease, the drug also promotes the natural mechanism of regeneration of the tooth, enabling the tooth to repair cavities.
Tideglusib operates by stimulating stem cells in the teeth pulp, the fresh dentine source. Dentine is the mineralized substance under the enamel of the tooth that is consumed by decomposition of the tooth.
Naturally, teeth can regenerate dentine without help, but only under certain conditions. The pulp must be exposed to the manufacture of dentine by infection (such as decomposition) or trauma.
But even then, naturally, the tooth can only regenerate a very thin layer— not enough to repair cavities created by decay that are usually deep. Tideglusib changes this result as it turns off the GSK-3 enzyme, which prevents the formation of dentine.
In the research, the team inserted small, biodegradable sponges made of collagen soaked in Tideglusib into cavities. The sponges triggered dentine growth and within six weeks, the damage was repaired. The collagen structure of the sponges melted away, leaving only the intact tooth.
The method has been used so far only in mouse teeth. Yet, as King’s College London Dental Institute professor and lead author Paul Sharpe said to The Telegraph, “Using a drug already tested for Alzheimer’s disease in clinical trials offers a true chance to get this dental treatment into hospitals rapidly.”
He added, “The simplicity of our approach makes it ideal as a clinical dental product for the natural treatment of large cavities, by providing both pulp protection and restoring dentine.”