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Transplant Roundup

March 23, 2012

Proteins made from cow collagen could help protect aging gums.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Promoting dental health with cow protein. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

As people age, their gums recede, exposing unprotected portions of teeth to decay-causing bacteria. And studies have shown that poor dental health can contribute to other problems, including heart disease. In the journal Head and Face Medicine, European researchers describe fighting receding gums by creating protein scaffolds built with cow collagen and attaching them to diseased gums. In pilot studies, the scaffolds helped patients grow new gum tissue to protect the teeth.

In other news, a review article in the journal Lancet claims that entire human organs grown on protein scaffolds are a promising solution to the growing shortage of transplant organs. Tracheas and bladders have already been successfully grown and transplanted, and more complex organs including hearts could eventually be possible. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.