The gel is composed of a mix of melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) and the drug-transporting chemical poly-L-glutamic acid. MSH causes the body to produce more melanin, responsible for skin color. Recent research has suggested that it can also stimulate bone regrowth.
In studies conducted on human dental cells, the MSH gel led to the growth of new dental cells and their adhesion to existing cells. When the gel was applied to the decaying teeth of live mice, the cavities completely disappeared within one month.
It will take at least three to five years to develop the gel into a medical product. If all goes well, the gel may render dental drills obsolete. The researchers believe that because the gel stimulates the regrowth of the body’s own cells, the rebuilt teeth would be just as strong as the old ones — in contrast with artificial fillings, which can fall out or wear down. The gel would also be painless to apply and would not require anesthesia.