Dr. Mantra Nandini, drg., SpBM(K)., MARS.,: Stem cells to allow growing new teeth

[Unpad.ac.id, 10/9/2013] In her dissertation, Dr. Mantra Nandini, drg, SpBM(K), MARS initially aimed at regenerating broken or missing jaw bones. However, the result is beyond her expectation. Not only jaw bone regeneration, but, surprisingly, she managed to prove that growing new blood vessels and teeth is possible.

Dr. Mantra Nandini, drg., SpBM(K)., MARS (image by: Tedi Yusup)*

Materials used in the regeneration process are mesenchyme stem cells derived from rabbit bone marrow, growth stimulus substance (grow factor) plus matrix or scaffold derived from shrimp shells and cow vertebrae. The matrix was created in Batan Reasearch Tissue Bank, Jakarta. The stem cells and the clinical application were processed in the stem cell laboratory of Institute of Tropical Disease of Universitas Airlangga (Unair), Surabaya.

“In 2007, when I participated in the Congress of plastic surgery in Baltimore, USA, there was a researcher presenting a paper on stem cell application in plastic surgery, which made me think whether stem cell can possibly be applied in oral and maxillofacial surgery,” said the dentist, who is also a lecturer at Unpad Faculty of Dentistry.

This experiment was carried out twice to get bone regeneration, new blood vessels, and gums on 40 male New Zealand white rabbits that had been defected. Mantra compared two types of growth stimulus substances, namely recombinant bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). Beyond expectation, the former successfully induced the growth of new teeth.

According to Mantra, new tooth growth occurs presumably because there is an excess of tooth bud formation or root left behind during the defection process of the rabbit jaws.

The dissertation entitled “Comparison of Composite Bone Implantation I, II, III, and IV of the Remodeling Osteogenesis in Critical Sized osseous in Mandible” earned Mantra a doctorate degree. She successfully graduated with honors from Unpad Faculty of Medicine with the GPA of 4.00. In addition, her research, which is the first research in the field conducted in Indonesia, was published in the August edition of Tempo magazine this year. Drg. Mantra’s discovery is currently in the process of filing a patent, assisted by Unpad technical implementer unit of intellectual property rights .

In the future, Mantra expects there will be more research in stem cells. In addition, this research is expected to be applied in other fields of science, especially concerning the application of stem cell in human, for example in curing cancer, abnormality, or bone-related diseases, nerves, digestive system, kidney, and aging. “Stem cells repair damaged cells. It can be derived from bone marrow, blood, fat, and other body tissues, then, the stem cells can be multiplied,” explained Mantra.

Mantra revealed that there have not been many researchers working on stem cells in Indonesia. She hopes stem cell laboratory of RSHS-Unpad can be immediately established. With the laboratory, stem cell-related research is expected to be carried out in many disciplines of science. In addition to that, because of this research, Mantra also wanted to prove that the quality of local artificial biomaterials is not less better than the foreign-made.

Besides teaching and conducting research, nowadays Mantra wants to get more engaged in community service. As an oral surgeon, Mantra has frequently been involved in cleft lip surgery for the poor. For her dedication, she received an award from Unpad Research and Community Service Center in 1988.

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