Mata is onto that issue for quite some time:
Zhan Huang Timothy D Sargeant James F Hulvat Alvaro Mata Pablo Bringas Jr Chung‐Yan Koh Samuel I Stupp Malcolm L Snead: "Bioactive Nanofibers Instruct Cells to Proliferate and Differentiate During Enamel Regeneration", JBMR, Volume23, Issue12, December 2008, Pages 1995-2006
His latest publication has a less obvious on-topic title:
Sherif Elsharkawy, Maisoon Al-Jawad, Maria F. Pantano, Esther Tejeda-Montes, Khushbu Mehta, Hasan Jamal, Shweta Agarwal, Kseniya Shuturminska, Alistair Rice, Nadezda V. Tarakina, Rory M. Wilson, Andy J. Bushby, Matilde Alonso, Jose C. Rodriguez-Cabello, Ettore Barbieri, Armando del Río Hernández, Molly M. Stevens, Nicola M. Pugno, Paul Anderson & Alvaro Mata: "Protein disorder–order interplay to guide the growth of hierarchical mineralized structures", Nature Communicationsvolume 9, Article number: 2145 (2018)
A major goal in materials science is to develop bioinspired functional materials based on the precise control of molecular building blocks across length scales. Here we report a protein-mediated mineralization process that takes advantage of disorder–order interplay using elastin-like recombinamers to program organic–inorganic interactions into hierarchically ordered mineralized structures. The materials comprise elongated apatite nanocrystals that are aligned and organized into microscopic prisms, which grow together into spherulite-like structures hundreds of micrometers in diameter that come together to fill macroscopic areas. The structures can be grown over large uneven surfaces and native tissues as acid-resistant membranes or coatings with tuneable hierarchy, stiffness, and hardness. Our study represents a potential strategy for complex materials design that may open opportunities for hard tissue repair and provide insights into the role of molecular disorder in human physiology and pathology.
A more accessible press release is found at
Scientists develop material that could regenerate dental enamel
Researchers at Queen Mary University of London have developed a new way to grow mineralised materials which could regenerate hard tissues such as dental enamel and bone.
While incredibly promising we might want to hold out horse for a little bit longer:
The research team is now looking into developing applications for this material.
“The technology could benefit many people and [commercialization] is the ultimate goal of our work,” says Alvaro Mata, who led the research group.[…]
“It is certainly a possibility,” Mata elaborates. “The kinds of regenerative challenges that we are talking about will require collaboration between disciplines and integration of different technologies. We are very keen to collaborate with different people to make things happen.”[…]
The UK seems to be a hotspot for research into tooth regeneration. At King’s College London, researchers performed experiments in mice that showed that an Alzheimer’s drug stimulated natural repair processes in stem cells found inside teeth to fill cavities.
On the industrial side of things, the Swiss company Credentis is developing protein molecules that help apatite crystals form new enamel and using its technology in a range of oral care products, from toothpaste and mouthwash to chewing gum. The British company BioMin Technologies uses glass-ceramic biomaterials that release phosphate molecules in response to acidic conditions in order to repair dental enamel.
With the combined efforts in biotech and academia, it’s exciting to think we may one day be able to regenerate our enamel and coax our teeth into filling their own cavities. Who knows, these research efforts may help us avoid another uncomfortable visit to the dentist.
British Researchers Regenerate Tooth Enamel With Biopolymers