Liposuction leftovers can boost stem cell productionBy IANS
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
WASHINGTON - Blobs of fat removed during liposuction conceal cells that can be more quickly and easily converted into stem cells than skin cells most often used by researchers.
“We’ve identified a great natural resource,” said Stanford University Medical Centre (SUMC) surgery professor Michael Longaker who described liposuction leftovers as ‘liquid gold’ and co-authored the study.
Reprogramming adult cells to function like embryonic stem cells is one way researchers hope to create patient-specific cell lines to regenerate tissue or to study specific diseases in the lab.
“Thirty to 40 percent of adults in this country are obese. Not only can we start with a lot of cells, we can reprogramme them much more efficiently,” agreed cardiologist Joseph Wu, also a study co-author.
“Fibroblasts, or skin cells, must be grown in the lab for three weeks or more before they can be reprogrammed. But these stem cells from fat are ready to go right away.”
The fact that the cells can also be converted without the need for mouse-derived “feeder cells” may make them an ideal starting material for human therapies.
Feeder cells are often used when growing human skin cells outside the body, but physicians worry that cross-species contamination could make them unsuitable for human use, said an SUMC release.
“They (fat cells) are more embryonic-like than fibroblasts, which take more effort to reprogram,” said study co-author and postdoctoral scholar Ning Sun, who conducted the research in both Longaker’s and Wu’s labs.