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Featured on Dental Products Report’s March cover, Store-A-Tooth is Provia Laboratories’ primary product offering. The simplest way to explain the product is that it gives families a second chance.
Parents are often led to believe cord blood stem cell banking is one of the only opportunities to preserve potential life-changing and life-saving stem cells. Store-A-Tooth offers families who missed that initial collection point more options, as any tooth with healthy pulp is a candidate. This includes baby teeth, wisdom teeth and teeth extracted for orthodontia. Most cases are collected at the dentist’s office, shipped overnight to the Store-A-Tooth lab, and processed so they can be available in the future.
Intrigued by the doors this product and service can open, we gathered some of the senior leadership of Provia Laboratories for a call to ask some more in-depth questions. Interviewees include:
Howard Greenman, CEO
Dr. Peter Verlander,
Chief Scientific Officer
What do you see as the value Store-A-Tooth provides to families?
PV: One of the researchers at the NIH discovered that we can use stem cells to make bone, muscle, even cartilage. We are now starting to see how stem cells can be used for regenerative dentistry and medicine. There have been two successful studies: regenerating alveolar bone in the jaw, and treating periodontal disease. Around the world, people are studying potential uses for a wide variety of conditions-from treating Type 1 Diabetes to dental pulp regeneration.
But as all these scientific discoveries and uses are coming down the road, the reality for parents is that these baby teeth are coming out today. Previously, these teeth and their cells have just been thrown away. We are here to give parents an option, so that 5, 10, 15 years from now, when these applications come and the therapies are needed, they can take advantage of them.
What do you see as the dentist’s role in getting this information out to families?
HG: We think dentists, hygienists, surgeons and dental team members will occupy a spectrum of enthusiasm and involvement. There are some who embrace this passionately and want to be the expert, the specialist. But for those who simply want to be prepared, we have them covered as well. If patients have questions, we provide education through our website and toll-free number as well as in-office materials for the practice. However, we hope to see a similar pattern to that of the cord blood banking field where the OB/GYN community worked with companies to raise awareness. There are now hundreds of companies and half a million people banking cord blood stem cells.
Is there a cost to the dental practice and the families who participate?
HG: Dentists can enroll with us online. It’s free-no capital equipment or inventory of kits, and training is free. We have an online portal for them to order in-office materials. It’s our investment in the dental community, enabling them to raise awareness.
When a patient enrolls, they do so directly with us. We have multiple services and payment options, but the basic service costs $649 up front and $120 per year for storage (considerably less than cord blood). In the grand scheme of things, it costs less than a cup of coffee per day.
Why should dental teams feel confident in working with Provia Labs?
HG: When assembling our team and our platform, we focused on leveraging the experience from a 15-year-old cord blood banking field. We went to the strongest companies and found people with a track record of focusing on quality. We put together a platform using the highest quality components. We’ve endeavored to do things right from day one.
PV: We’ve invested in having quality in every step of the process and want to communicate that to the dentist. The core of our collection kit is the Save-a-Tooth. It is an FDA-approved and ADA-accepted transport device for knocked out teeth for reimplantation.
The overnight shipment back to our lab is temperature controlled with cold packs, to keep the stem cells as stable as possible. If a tooth is extracted mid-day, it is in our lab the following morning-usually in less than 24 hours-to help optimize the viability of the cells. We are, of course, registered with the FDA.
Our lab meets the highest standards set by the American Association of Blood Banks, and we have all the licenses required from relevant state departments of health.
Our team has decades of experience in biobanking, medical devices and genetics-a broad array of relevant experience. Among other things, we provide advisory services to NIH on projects related to processing and banking of human biospecimens. We’re not just saying we’re quality, we’re doing things the right way with appropriate licenses and accreditations.
What is the future for the field of regenerative medicine and dentistry?
HG: When you look at the mid 1990s, banking cord blood stem cells was an uncertain field-no one was quite sure what you could do with them. But, as more people banked, more research was done, and today, more than 80 diseases can be addressed. That is what we expect to happen with dental stem cells. As more families are informed, samples are banked, and there is more interest in scientific research. It is a formula that helps accelerate the field. The dental community can make this happen.