Promising salivary gland research

A quick update – I’ve had some big life changes over the past month, which have largely been responsible for the dearth of posts. Hopefully things will be settling down and my energy levels will be going up.

Researchers at the University of Texas have published promising research for anyone who has dry mouth due to damaged salivary glands, one of the most common Sjogren’s Syndrome symptoms (say that three times fast). Even if a cure for SS was released tomorrow, many patients would continue to experience dry mouth due to damaged salivary glands. This research provides hope for regeneration even if the glands have been damaged or destroyed. From the article:

“In our process, we purified the silk fibers by removing a number of contaminants. We put stem cells from rat salivary glands on the silk framework with a media to nourish them. After several weeks in culture, the cells produced a 3-D matrix covering the silk scaffolds. The cells had many of the same characteristics as salivary gland cells that grow in the mouth,” he said.

“Until now, retention of salivary gland cell properties has not been possible using other tissue culture techniques. This unique culture system has great potential for future salivary gland research and for the development of new cell-based therapeutics.” Dr. Yeh explained.

While this research is still very early, “Dr. Yeh hopes that within the next decade stem cells can be transfused into damaged human salivary glands to jumpstart tissue repair or engineered into artificial salivary gland tissue to replace damaged glands.” I hope so too.

Posted in Research, Treatment
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