Studies show promising results for stem cells derived from fat
As we have said in some of our earlier posts on this forum, stem cell therapy is one of the growing fields constituting regenerative medicine with immense potentials and application in the treatment and management of various disease conditions.
These stems cells maybe obtained or harvested from certain parts of the body: majorly the bone marrow and adipose tissue. Stem cells derived from bone marrow are always thought to be of better quality, stability and efficacy compared to those derived from fat cells. However, recent studies have shown that fats cells are more stable than earlier thought.
According to researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, adult stem cells collected directly from human fat are more stable than other cells – such as fibroblasts from the skin – and have the potential for use in anti-aging treatments. They made the discovery after developing a new model to study chronological aging of these cells. This finding was published in the journal Stem Cells.
Chronological aging shows the natural life cycle of the cells – as opposed to cells that have been unnaturally replicated multiple times or otherwise manipulated in a lab. In order to preserve the cells in their natural state, Penn researchers developed a system to collect and store them without manipulating them, making them available for this study. They found stem cells collected directly from human fat – called adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) – can make more proteins than originally thought. This gives them the ability to replicate and maintain their stability, a finding that held true in cells collected from patients of all ages.
This finding shows that stem cells derived from fat cells can be potentially used in the future because they require minimal manipulation and maintenance and they are more readily available and accessible in the body than those from bone marrow. And unlike other stem cells, the rate at which ASCs multiply stays consistent with age according to the research. This means the cells could be more stable and helpful.
Stem cells are currently used in a variety of anti-aging treatments and are commonly collected from a variety of tissues. But Percec’s team specifically found ASCs to be more stable than other cells, a finding that can potentially open the door to new therapies for the prevention and treatment of aging-related diseases.
Although, ASCs are not currently approved for direct use by the Food and Drug Administration, so more research is needed in this direction.
However, in a separate study conducted by researchers at Leiden University Medical Center , The Netherlands, led by Helene Roelofs, Ph.D., conducted the study stem cells derived from fat were found to outperform those from bone marrow in fighting disease and in modulating the body’s immune system.
Also, this finding could have significant implications in developing new stem-cell-based therapies, as adipose tissue-derived stem cells (AT-SCs) are far more plentiful in the body than those found in bone marrow and can be collected from waste material from liposuction procedures which is an alternative to bone marrow harvesting.
For the study, the team used stem cells collected from the bone marrow and fat tissue of age-matched donors. They compared the cells’ ability to regulate the immune system in vitro and found that the two performed similarly, although it took a smaller dose for the AT-SCs to achieve the same effect on the immune cells.
When it came to secreting cytokines — the cell signaling molecules that regulate the immune system — the AT-SCs also outperformed the bone marrow-derived cells. This all adds up to make AT-SC a good alternative to bone marrow stem cells for developing new therapies.
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