Everybody has to have some fat in their body or they will literally die. But for many of us that isn’t the issue. It’s an over abundance of fat. While nothing will make being overweight healthy, fat may actually have a use in healing. Purified fat stem cells can be used to grow new bone that is better quality than using other stem cells.
According to Medical X Press researchers at UCLA have discovered a way to take fat tissue separate out and purify fat stem cells and grow new bone. This could be great news for people with broken bones or osteoporosis, two areas where this type of procedure might prove most helpful. Some of the patients own fat would be removed and processed into the purified stem cells used to grow new bone.
The researchers, Dr. Chia Soo, vice chair for research at UCLA Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and his co-senior authors on the project, Soo and Bruno Péault, members of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA, used a cell sorting machine to help “isolate and purify human perivascular stem cells (hPSC) from adipose tissue [fat].” They also used “a growth factor called NELL-1, discovered by Dr. Kang Ting of the UCLA School of Dentistry” to enhance bone growth.
According to UCLA":
Our faculty have successfully combined Nell1 with specially engineered scaffolds to activate stem cells in order to regenerate bone in long bone models like the arms and legs, the spine, and parts of the skull in non-human animals. Nell1 also dramatically promotes healing in joint cartilage models. Currently, work is being conducted to identify and develop ways to deliver Nell 1 to injured joints in a minimally invasive way.
The utilization of Nell1 with the purified fat stem cells could be the answer to a lot of health issues. According to the UCLA Newsroom, the research “may result in a treatment that could help patients with back problems requiring spine fusion, bone fractures, herniated disks and, potentially, osteoporosis. Their work, if successful, could provide an alternative to traditional bone grafting.”
While this new research is certainly no reason to keep excess fat around it does show why having a little excess fat might come in handy should you be injured and when you get older. Being able to use your own tissue to fix broken bones, help back problems and prevent or reverse osteoporosis, makes medical procedures much easier and less risky.