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An Official Publication of the Indian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologists

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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 11-12

Regenerative medicine - A new horizon for an oral pathologist

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, Sree Anjaneya Institute of Dental Sciences, Malabar Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala, India

Date of Submission14-Jan-2020
Date of Acceptance16-Jan-2020
Date of Web Publication08-May-2020

Correspondence Address:
P M Sunil
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, Sree Anjaneya Institute of Dental Sciences, Malabar Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jomfp.JOMFP_16_20

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How to cite this article:
Sunil P M. Regenerative medicine - A new horizon for an oral pathologist. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol 2020;24:11-2

How to cite this URL:
Sunil P M. Regenerative medicine - A new horizon for an oral pathologist. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Aug 6];24:11-2. Available from: http://www.jomfp.in/text.asp?2020/24/1/11/283957

Regenerative medicine (RM) encompasses regeneration of cells, tissues and organs to normal anatomic and physiologic function by guiding or engineering tissues using various molecular biological techniques. This is a wonderful upcoming field that has great potential for Medical and Dental Researchers. RM procedures mainly focus on regenerating own bodily tissues, thereby preventing organ transplantation. Organ shortage is becoming menace affecting the medical field. In India, organ donation is abysmally low when compared with the developed countries, which is about 0.34 per million against 30 donors per million in the Western world.[1]

The above statistics show the shortage of organs in our country; even if the organs are available it needs immunosuppressive medicines until life, to retain the organ. To avoid this, RM plays a handy role in building its own body tissues by tissue engineering and other mechanisms. With the advent of stem cells from the oral and maxillofacial region (OMFR), particularly dental pulp stem cells, which exhibit excellent lineage into many tissues such as osteoblasts, chondroblasts and neural cells has paved the way for the regeneration of bodily organs from tiny dental tissue. Since most of these regenerative procedures are made in laboratories and it involves a lot of cellular science, oral pathologists are one of the better fitting specialists to be a part of RM from the dental fraternity.

Oral and maxillofacial pathology is one of the excellent branches in dentistry which had a promising scope when I joined the course. Disproportionate supply versus demand has diminished the job prospective of this beautiful branch. It has become imperative to inculcate newer responsibilities for budding oral pathologists to widen job opportunities. Being a responsible oral pathologist and working in the area of RM for the past 12 years, I humbly suggest we are the better fitting people to do research or contribute to the clinical translation of the same. RM has various avenues to explore such as stem cell therapy, gene therapy, immunotherapy, using growth factors, biomaterials and 3-dimensional (3D) bioprinting.

Stem cell therapy or cellular therapy involves using autologous or heterologous cells for regeneration by culturing the cells in the laboratory. It will be more fitting for oral pathologists to execute isolation, expansion, characterization and culturing, provided he/she undergo proper training in the affiliated institutions. Designing human-sized organs using scaffolds, especially with 3D bioprinting, needs judicious anatomical knowledge. Tooth morphology and oral anatomy being part of our curriculum, the oral pathologist will be naturally a person of choice to create bioengineered or regenerated structures of OMFR.

Disease models using cell lines, animals and organs on-chip are gaining momentum in recent days, being accustomed to various diseases of oral and maxillofacial diseases including malignancies, oral pathologists can be a part of the team for designing disease models to formulate the exact treatment plan.

Gene therapy, an exciting field is widely used in the Western world for treating various diseases and has a wide range of applications in OMFR, ranging from the regeneration of bone to the treatment of malignancies. Gene therapy as injectable form, better works in salivary glandular tissues and keratinocytes. Since dental surgeons, especially oral pathologists have better access to these areas, can be gene therapists as well.[2]

Immunotherapy or immune enhancement therapy is becoming the fourth pillar of cancer treatment.[3] It is normally custom made for individual patients by isolation of immune cells autologously and propagated for therapeutic purposes to treat cancer. Oral pathologists having good knowledge about oral malignancies can be part of the team designing Immunotherapy strategy ranging from collecting tumor lysate to co-culturing with immune enhancement cells.

It is the sad truth that unlike developed countries, we lack scientific temper in our curriculum, lots of innovative approach needs to be attempted. During my academic sojourn to various countries, I can discretely note very less innovative scientific presentation was made by our country compared to even some Asian nations. Exploring new avenues is imperative for the survival of this beautiful branch (oral pathology). I humbly suggest the budding oral pathologists to step into this new arena (RM) for better future.

   References Top

Abraham G, Vijayan M, Gopalakrishnan N, Shroff S, Amalorpavanathan J, Yuvaraj A, et al. State of deceased donor transplantation in India: A model for developing countries around the world. World J Transplant 2016;6:331-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
Sunil PM, Ramachandran CR, Jaisanghar N, Santhosh Kumar C. Dental surgeons as gene therapist. Int J Oral Maxillofac Pathol 2012;3:65-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
Mohan SP, Bhaskaran MK, George AL, Thirutheri A, Somasundaran M, Pavithran A. Immunotherapy in oral cancer. J Pharm Bioallied Sci 2019;11:S107-11.  Back to cited text no. 3


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