Extracting stem cells from fat for tissue regeneration

Stem cells extracted from body fat may pave the way for the development of new regenerative therapies including soft tissue reconstruction following tumor removal or breast mastectomy surgery, the development of tissue-engineered cartilage or bone, and the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

An interdisciplinary team of Queen's University researchers led by Dr. Lauren Flynn, a professor in the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Anatomy and Cell Biology, has been working with extracted from samples of human fat and is developing new methods in the lab to develop these cells into mature tissue substitutes.

While stem cells extracted from fat cannot be grown into as many different types of cells as , they do have a number of advantages.

"The advantages include less ethical controversy, abundant cell availability from discarded tissues from elective surgeries like breast reductions and tummy tucks, and a much reduced possibility for when re-implanting cells extracted from a person's own fat," explains Dr. Juares Bianco, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Human Mobility Research Centre (HMRC) who is working in the Flynn lab group.

Sarah Fleming, a Master's candidate in the group, is also working to establish a new method for growing the fat stem cells in the lab using a system that mimics the natural tissue environment found within the body. This work is based on Dr. Flynn's development of a technique for washing away all traces of cells from a sample of body fat, leaving behind a three-dimensional tissue scaffold that she calls "decellularized adipose tissue", or "DAT" for short.

This empty scaffold can then be used for soft tissue reconstruction or as a growing environment for the extracted stem cells. Dr. Flynn's preliminary studies have shown that when the stem cells are grown on the DAT scaffold, they naturally begin to mature into , suggesting that the engineered growth environment influences the type of cell that the basic stem cells will turn into during the tissue regeneration process.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fat-regenerating 'stem cells' found in mice

Oct 10, 2008

Researchers have identified stem cells with the capacity to build fat, according to a report in the October 17th issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication. Although they have yet to show that the cells can renew ...

Recommended for you

Scientists image a beating heart in 3D (w/ Video)

1 hour ago

Researchers of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden report how they managed to capture detailed three-dimensional images of cardiac dynamics in zebrafish. The novel approach: ...

New device to monitor lung function in space

1 hour ago

A new method of collecting blood from the ear, currently part of an interactive exhibition at the Science Museum, could be used to monitor lung function in space. Less invasive, faster and more accurate than current methods, ...

Primate research center plays key role in HIV study in Nature

1 hour ago

In a study reported in Nature this month, Yerkes National Primate Research Center researchers were key in determining that treating SIV-infected rhesus macaques with type 1 interferon, a protein known to trigger antiviral respon ...

Three-people IVF debate process on the move in UK

4 hours ago

Takes two to make a child, correct? No. maybe. The use of sperm and eggs from three people to create babies moved a step closer in the UK, with Tuesday's events. What kind of egg-sperm distribution are we talking about? The ...

User comments