Certain types of cells from fat tissue can repair skull defects in mice, say researchers at Stanford University Medical Center. Because this type of healing process does not depend on the use of embryonic stem cells or gene therapy, it may one day allow doctors to use a patient’s own unmodified cells as building blocks to heal fractures, replace joints, treat osteoporosis or correct defects in bone growth or healing.
"These cells are from you, for you and by you," said Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital pediatric craniofacial surgeon Michael Longaker, MD. "They are not foreign and they don’t express foreign genes. To our knowledge, this is the first time these cells have ever been shown to have a therapeutic effect." Longaker, a professor of surgery at Stanford’s School of Medicine, is the senior author of the research, published in the May issue of Nature Biotechnology.
"Fat is a great natural resource," he added. "These cells are not only easily harvested, they grow quickly in the laboratory." In contrast, bone marrow cells and bone cells, both of which can also repair skull damage, grow very slowly outside of the body.
Robert Dicks | Stanford University Medical C.
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