Seven-year-old Becca Graham has become one of the first children in the UK to have her stem cells banked after getting two of her baby teeth extracted by her dentist father. Her parents decided to freeze Becca’s milk teeth so that she can benefit from medical advances in stem cell research in the future.
Mr Graham removed two wobbly baby teeth and collected the dental pulp –thought to be a great source for stem cells, which are often used to treat leukaemia and other diseases of the blood. He went on to explain that ‘There’s been an awful lot of research lately regarding stem cells and how to deliver them and use them to cure diseases; leukaemia, diabetes, and cancers. We had been looking for a way to store stem cells when Rebecca was born. We’d heard all about it and thought it was a good idea.’
Rebecca’s mother was also feeling positive about the decision, saying ‘I knew I wanted to keep her teeth to bank them because with the progress that science has made now, and the things that stem cells can do at the moment, who knows what it’s going to be like in 10 years, 20, or 30 thirty years.’
Despite the significance of her operation, it seems Becca is more concerned about how to deal with the tooth fairy, ‘I wrote a wee letter to her to explain and she sent me back £5,’ she explains.