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Is Fat the Future of Regenerative Therapy?

August 1, 2018

Adipose Stem Cell Treatment

Medical News Bulletin, June 2018

Excerpted from article by Aaron Kwong, MSc

Regenerative therapy is a cell-based technique using stem cells to boost tissue regeneration. Though many different stem cells are used, one of the most promising is fat-derived adipose stem cells. 

What is regenerative therapy?

Regenerative therapy is the reconstruction or rejuvenation of damaged tissue using stem-cell-based techniques. Stem cells are the cellular “seeds” of our body that allow our organs and tissues to regenerate.

Typically, when the cells in our body mature, a significant trade-off is made. Cells lose the ability to divide but they gain a specialized function. Muscle cells, for example, gain the specialization for contracting. If our bodies were completely made of specialized cells, any damage may be life-threatening since these cells cannot regenerate. To solve this, our bodies store a small amount of stem cells that are able to divide and later specialize to replace damaged cells. For example, muscle stem cells divide to repair and grow damaged muscle tissue.

Regenerative therapy uses stem cells to boost tissue recovery

Regenerative therapy takes advantage of the utility of stem cells by harvesting and reintroducing them to a patient to boost normal tissue recovery. This is especially critical for patients suffering from genetic degenerative diseases, whose stem cells are dysfunctional, and injuries that are too great to repair naturally. By injecting stem cells directly into the affected tissue, these cells will seed the patient with healthy stem cells which can repopulate the affected area with healthy tissue and curb the degenerative process.

Alternatively, harvested stem cells can be grown, which mimics normal tissue elasticity to promote the stem cells to divide, reorganize, and specialize into tissues which can be transplanted to the patients. A common application of this approach is regenerating skin grafts for burn-wound victims to help grow healthy skin during their recovery. Due to these advantages, regenerative therapy is a vital technique that can help treat and potentially cure many genetic diseases and physical ailments.

Adipose stem cells

When one thinks of fat, one of the last things they might think of is how many stem cells are in it. But researchers have found that adipose tissue is a plentiful source of adipose stem cells that can be easily harvested and be applied for regenerative therapy. In fact, 500x more stem cells can be harvested from fat than from bone marrow and with minimal harm.

Recent research on adipose (fat) stem cells found they have a high replication and growth factor secretion rate making them a viable choice for certain regenerative therapies. When researchers used adipose stem cells to treat spinal cord injuries in rats, they found it secreted more growth factors than bone marrow stem cells. These growth factors are critical for promoting regeneration in damaged tissue which was seen in higher rates of spinal cord injury recovery in adipose stem cell than in bone marrow stem cells.

Adipose stem cells were also found to have some success in treating Parry-Romberg syndrome, a hemi-facial degenerative disease, as well as Perineal Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory disease making them highly versatile for a diverse range of diseases.

Promising applications for fat-derived stem cells

Regenerative therapy is a cell-based clinical technique which uses stem cells to boost tissue regeneration. Though many different stem cells are used, one of the most promising is fat-derived adipose stem cells. These cells are relatively abundant and easy to collect within the human body. Combined with their ability to secrete key growth factors in vascularization, adipose stem cells are ideal for regenerative therapy in treating certain diseases and relatively successful in cosmetic surgeries. Though there is controversial evidence that they are associated with cardiac diseases and can be linked with cancer progression, adipose stem cell research will continue to uncover their potential for regenerative therapy.

StemGenex Stem Cell Research Centre is referring to the above content merely to share important information relating to stem cell therapies. The information is not endorsed by Stem Cell Research Centre and should not be construed as statements made by it. Original content was published on 06/30/2018 can be viewed here.

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