Dentures or implants have been the conventional way to help people who have lost teeth due to tooth decay or aging. Now Japanese researchers are working on a world-first drug that could help patients grow completely new teeth. Kyoto-based Toregem Bio Pharma Co. hopes to start phase 1 trials to confirm its safety as early as July 2024. It then plans to conduct trials on patients with anodontia, a congenital condition in which some or all permanent teeth are absent, paving the way to commercialization in 2030. In 2018, Kyoto University’s Katsu Takahashi and his team found that mice lacking the gene for a protein called USAG-1 do not lose their tooth buds during early tooth development. When the USAG-1 protein was suppressed, mice were able to grow teeth. Osaka University's Institute for Protein Research is developing the protein.