Reversing Autism in the Lab with help from Stem Cells and the Tooth Fairy

People with autism have difficulty with language and social interaction as if they are trapped inside their own brains. There is no cure. Dr. Alysson Muotri of UCSD devised a Fairy Tooth Kit Collection campaign in which autistic and unaffected kids could donate their baby teeth when they fell out. Using the induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) technique, Muotri’s team extracted pulp cells in the teeth and converted them into brain cells. The autistic brain cells showed distinct deficiencies in the petri dish which could be reserved. In this seminar presented to the governing Board of California’s Stem Cell Agency, Dr. Muotri describes these results in more detail.

For more information about autism research funded by California’s Stem Cell Agency, visit our autism fact sheet.