New technologies are always being developed to save lives. One new therapy involves extracting stem cells from baby teeth. Right now, the technology is not available, however, someday it may be the best health insurance that money could buy.
Stem cell researchers say it will still be years, perhaps decades, before they're ready to use stem cells to help fight potentially life-threatening illnesses. Still, the procedure holds promise if parents are willing to shoulder the expense for obtaining and preserving the stem cells.
Grant Sadler, GMS Dental Centers president, believes that some parents will one day thank their lucky stars that they did. He’s offering the service of extracting stem cells from baby teeth. Normally stem cells are taken from the umbilical cord, but many parents have missed the boat on preserving those. Sadler promises baby teeth are the next best option, and will provide the service for just under $600. There’s also an annual fee of $100 to store the cells.
Stem cell therapies promise to one day make great strides in fighting serious diseases, like cancer. The idea that one's baby teeth might contain the key ingredient for a miracle cure may be too good to be true, though. The stem cells in teeth are very different from the stem cells collected from the umbilical cord.
Jonathan Moreno, director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, says that the benefits are speculative at best. "I would like to see an itemized bill that accounts for the ... charges. After the cells are harvested and treated, it's just a matter of holding them in a refrigerator, so the only real cost is the electricity."
For now, parents can save the teeth—but probably shouldn’t rush to get those stem cells out of them.
Source: ABC News Go