Alexandria, Va., USA – The International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) have published a Journal of Dental Research special issue on craniofacial stem cells. This special issue of the Journal of Dental Researchencompasses a diverse group of articles that provide a review of important recent advances in craniofacial stem cell biology as well as examples of state-of-the-art research in the field. The issue spans multiple components of the craniofacial complex, from teeth to bones and glands, and it covers both normal development as well as disease processes. The findings from this special issue have implications in the advancement of human oral health in patients suffering from afflictions such as oral cancer, injury or congenital disorders.

The dental articles have a notable focus on the pulp, including mineral tissue formation by dental stem cells (Volponi et al., 2015), regulation of tooth dentin formation by growth factors (Sagomonyants et al., 2015), and the behavior of tooth-related pulp cells (Smith et al., 2015). In addition, stem cells of the human tooth supporting structures are explored (Athanassiou-Papaefthymiou et al., 2015), and other craniofacial organs covered include the salivary gland (Aure et al., 2015; Maruyama et al., 2015) and the temporomandibular (TMJ) joint (Lu et al., 2015). The role of stem cells in diseases of the craniofacial complex is reviewed in a number of the articles (Yin et al., 2015; Chai and Zhao, 2015). New discoveries as well as ongoing challenges involving stem cells in head and neck cancer are covered, and interaction between the immune system and stem cells as well as therapeutic opportunities are discussed (Dionne et al., 2015; Birkeland et al., 2015). Another review focuses on papillomavirus infection and its effect on stem cells of the head and neck region (Pulios et al., 2015). Finally, the issue covers therapeutic strategies in a number of conditions. The current state and future prospects of pulp-dentin regeneration are reviewed (Cao et al., 2015), as is the use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in dentistry (Hynes et al., 2015). Original work explores the molecular basis for cell-based therapy of TMJ osteoarthritis (Lu et al., 2015) and possible uses of dental-derived cells in spinal cord injury repair (De Berdt et al., 2015).

“This issue highlights the impressive advances occurring in the craniofacial stem cell field and demonstrates the enormous promise that stem cell-based therapies hold for the future,” said Special Issue Co-Editor Ophir Klein.

JDR Associate Editor Jacques Nör echoed those sentiments. “I am pleased with the quality of research that is published in this special issue and I am thankful to the authors who chose to submit their research for publication.”

Klein and Nör moderated a podcast, which complements this special issue, with Professors Paul Sharpe and Mark Prince who are internationally-recognized experts in head and neck stem cell biology. Please visit the JDR website atjdr.sagepub.com/site//misc/Index/Podcasts.xhtml to access the podcast. The JDRspecial issue on craniofacial stem cells in oral health and disease is available athttp://jdr.sagepub.com/content/current. Reporters and writers may contact Ingrid L. Thomas at ithomas@iadr.org to request access to the issue.