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[IP] Study: Fat May Be Stem Cells Source

Another interesting development to share....
Linda V.

Study: Fat May Be Stem Cells Source 

      LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Scientists say human fat may be a potential source 
of stem cells, a breakthrough that could lead to a cure for numerous 

      Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles and the 
University of Pittsburgh used fat collected by liposuction to isolate the 
stem cells, which they said were then converted into bone, cartilage and 
muscle depending on the conditions in which they were grown. 

      Stem cells, which are the building blocks for all human tissue, have 
the potential to become virtually any type of tissue. They have been 
harvested previously from bone marrow, brain and fetal tissue. 

      "We don't yet know the limits for stem cells found in fat. So far, we 
have seen promising results with all of the tissue types we have examined,'' 
Dr. Adam J. Katz, a member of the research team from the University of 
Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said in a statement released Monday. 

      The study was published in the journal Tissue Engineering. 

      The finding means a person's own fat could conceivably be used to 
provide the tissue needed to treat disease or repair injuries. 

      "We hope one day to be able to remove diseased tissue or organs, 
harvest stem cells and replace the lost tissues on the same day during the 
same operation,'' Dr. Marc Hedrick, the research team's primary investigator 
at UCLA, said in the statement. "There is potential for regenerating a lot of 
different tissues, perhaps some day solid organs, glands, nerves or brain 

      Stem cell research also holds promise toward finding cures for 
Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's disease, heart disease and 
spinal cord injuries. 

      Katz said the discovery could also potentially obliviate the need for 
using fetal tissue, a practice opposed by many anti-abortion groups. 

      President Bush has signaled he may block federal financing for research 
that uses fetal tissue. He wants scientists to focus only on adult stem 
cells. Embryonic stem cells have generated the most scientific excitement 
because they appear to be the most flexible. 

      "This is extremely significant in terms of its potential,'' Dr. Michael 
T. Longaker of Stanford University, who was not involved in the study, told 
the Los Angeles Times. "Unfortunately, fat is a substantial natural resource 
in the USA. This is a great way to do something with it.'' 

      A separate team at Duke University has also produced similar results by 
turning stem cells from fat into cartilage. 

      "It's very important for different groups to reach the same conclusion 
with a study with this much potential impact,'' Farshid Guilak, who led the 
Duke study, told the Times. 

      Both groups are performing experiments with animals and predict it 
would take about five years before the first clinical trials are conducted on 
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