Fat tissue may be stem cell source

Jan. 28, 2010 at 1:47 PM
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DAEJEON, South Korea, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Fat tissue, or adipose tissue, may be a promising new source of valuable and easy-to-obtain regenerative cells, researchers in South Korea suggest.

Lead study author Dr. Gou Young Koh of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daedeok Science Town in Daejeon, South Korea, says bone marrow is a leading source of adult stem cells, which are increasingly used for research and therapeutic interventions, but extracting the cells can be an arduous and often painful process.

Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells are powerful cells that have the ability to regenerate and develop into many different kinds of cells. They are found in high quantities in the bone marrow, but a certain portion known as extramedullary tissue, found outside of bone marrow, circulate between the marrow and the peripheral blood.

"It's not outside the realm of possibility that a donor graft of adipose tissue-derived hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells might be able to partially replace the need for bone marrow transplantation within 10 years," the study author said in a statement.

"We know that adipose tissue and bone marrow tissues share similar properties, so we suspected that valuable stem cells might be found in the adipose regions, offering a unique resource for stem cells that might be easier and less costly to extract."

The findings are published online ahead of print in the journal Blood.

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