Can liposuction help you live longer?
Doctors at the University of Oklahoma reported the first successful procedure for growing new blood vessels from adipose, or 'fat derived,' stem cells. These newly formed blood vessels can be used in heart bypass surgery and other complicated procedures requiring healthy vessels, according to the researchers, who presented their findings at the American Heart Association's 2012 Scientific Sessions.
Through liposuction, doctors can collect hundreds of millions of stem cells that can be used to generate blood vessels. The cells were "seeded" onto a 'bio-scaffold' and as they multiplied, researchers rolled them into tubes with the diameter of small blood vessels. Within weeks, new, healthy tissue began to grow into usable blood vessels. And since the cells are 'autologous', or from the same patient, there is no risk of adverse reactions or rejection.
But one of the key considerations is the age of the patient and thus the age of the stem cells. Young stem cells are much more active and potent than older cells. And young blood vessels are much more functional than older vessels.
One potential downside is that these blood vessels take time to grow in the lab. "They would not be available immediately, but you could bank your own cells and keep them until the time comes that you need them," said Dr. Roberto Bolli, an American Heart Association spokesman and chief of cardiology at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.
Success using stem cells in tissue engineering have led to just that-the option for patients to bank their adipose stem cells as a biological resource for use in the future in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
Dr. David Harris, Professor of Immunology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, is Chief Scientific Officer and founder of Adicyte, an adipose stem cell cryogenic bank. AdiCyte uses modern cryopreservation methods to safely store an individual's adult adipose tissue and stem cells for their future use in regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and cosmetic or reconstructive procedures.
"Adipose tissue is the richest source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in the human body, and more than 100 FDA clinical trials are in motion to help bring these cellular therapies to approved indications" said Harris.
For $985, patients can save their adipose tissue and stem cells, and request them whenever needed. There is an annual maintenance fee of $120. Cryogenic storage of the tissue in essence, 'stops the clock' on cell aging, so if the cells are needed twenty years from now, they will still have the same level of vitality and activity as when they were banked.
"The ability for a patient and doctor to literally pre-order new blood vessels for a heart bypass patient is exactly what AdiCyte is about," says Scott Edelman, AdiCyte's CEO and co-founder. "We want to help drive the advancement of regenerative medicine by enabling people to preserve their youngest stem cells possible, so they have the opportunity to take advantage of these miraculous new technologies and live longer."