2015 Volume 38 Issue 2 Pages 93-100
Salivary gland hypofunction, or xerostomia (dry mouth syndrome), induces various clinical problems, such as dental decay, bacterial infection, and swallowing dysfunction. Xerostomia caused by autoimmune disease and aging affects an increasing number of patients. The development of novel functional treatments for xerostomia is needed, as currently available therapies are only palliative in nature. Tissue stem cell transplantation and gene therapy are currently being investigated as potential approaches to the restoration of salivary gland function. The final goal of regenerative therapy is fully functional regenerative organ replacement for dysfunctional organs. Previously, we developed a technology to reconstitute the organ germ (Organ Germ Method) using epithelial and mesenchymal stem cells. We have recently reported the regeneration of fully functional organs, such as teeth, hair and lacrimal glands, can be achieved by the transplantation of bioengineered organ germs. In this review, we describe the regeneration of the salivary gland as part of a feasibility study of a next-generation regenerative therapy.