Since I started writing about fat grafts, stem cells, and the regenerative properties and medical potential back in 2009, about 7 years after performing one of my first fat grafting cases, I have become more and more involved and dedicated to the science of fat grafting. As the current President of IFATS (the International Federation for Adipose Therapeutics and Science), I’m excited to be posting a quick note about this year’s conference, which starts tomorrow in San Diego. This year we’re bringing together not only the leading clinical practitioners with whom we are all familiar, but also leading endocrinologists, experts in the field of genomics and big data as applied to medicine, and stem cell researchers from other specialties such as cardiology and orthopedics.
Laser resurfacing is a procedure which is aimed at rejuvenating the face. It works by evaporating the top layers, the epidermis, of your skin causing a regeneration of new skin. While it is an effective method for prompting fresher, more youthful facial glow, there is a great alternative to consider if you are seeking a younger looking face. In fact, I am using laser resurfacing less and less in favor of fat grafting for facial rejuvenation. Why? Because with laser, regeneration of the skin is prompted by destruction and that destruction can also cause fat volume loss whereas with fat grafting, regeneration of the skin is prompted by adipose stem cells which reside in the fat that is injected and there is no additional facial fat loss. Here is why some people experience facial fat loss after laser resurfacing.
Since the 1990’s Plastic Surgeons have reliably used fat grafting as a way to improve and enhance the cosmetic appearance of the face, breast, hands, feet, hips, and buttocks. However, more recently, clinicians have documented the therapeutic benefits of fat grafting in the healing of wounds and scars, as well as fat’s ability to repair damage to breast tissue following radiation treatment.
Patients interested in having a procedure involving fat grafting should be familiar enough with the process to ask questions above and beyond the usual questions they might ask when consulting with plastic surgeons. The success of fat grafting is highly dependent on the skill and technique of the surgeon as well as the patient’s attention to detail and instructions during post-op. Here are 10 questions to arm yourself with prior to a consultation for any plastic surgery involving a fat transfer.
Any of you who have been following this blog knows of my interest in adult stem cells derived from fat tissue. Adipose stem cells are an abundant source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC’s), and provide tremendous promise for many types of injury and diseases. For the past 4 years I have been on an amazing journey that has brought me in contact with brilliant scientists all over the world, taught me new skills, and opened a world of wonder in my profession of plastic surgery. Yesterday, together with Jeff Bulte, PhD (Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions) and others from University of Maryland, I was awarded one of the 2013 Maryland stem cell research fund (MSCRF) Grants. Our team will investigate the location, longevity, and fate of labeled adipose stem cells once we have injected them into breast tissue damaged by radiation.
Fat Grafts have a naturally occurring small population of Adipose Stem Cells, and we are currently using them to help heal scars. Adipose tissue can be extracted from unwanted areas of your body, processed to remove the mature and dead cells, and then reinjected as a fat graft. The Adipose Stem Cells in a fat graft help to heal the scar in several ways. First, the stem cells have anti-inflammatory properties that prevent excessive scarring. Second, they help replenish normal cells in the tissue by differentiation or directing other cells in the tissue to multiply. Since the normal population of cells under the skin is fat tissue anyways, the fat graft itself provides most of the tissue that is needed.
This year marked the 10th anniversary of IFATS, the International Federation for Adipose Therapeutics and Science, an organization which includes scientists and Medical Doctors from a wide range of specialties. The conference was held in Quebec, Canada and included over 100 abstracts, most of which focused on on Adipose Stem Cells. Abstracts and keynotes were presented form three categories of research: basic science, translational science, and clinical research. There were many exciting findings, but here’s a summary of highlights we found most interesting.
It’s been over two months since I updated my database of Adipose Stem Cell Clinical Trials. I am tracking registered Clinical Trials in the ClinicalTrials.gov database. A lot has happened in only two months! Eight new Clinical Trials have been registered in the ClinicalTrials.gov database since June 1, 2012. This brings the all time total of Adipose Stem Cell Clinical Trials to 62.
Spain…soccer world superstar. But what about stem cells?! If there was a world cup for stem cells, Spain would get that too! While Spain is the world leader of Soccer, they are also the dominant player in a new arena of stem cell research. According to information publicly available at ClinicalTrials.gov, Spain is the leader in clinical trials using adipose stem cells. And just like Soccer, compared to other countries, it’s not even close! adipose stem cell clinical trial leaders As of early June 2012, Spain has registered at least 18 different clinical trial locations using adipose stem cells. Mexico and Korea are next with 11 and 10 trials respectively. And what of the great USA, the hot bed of medical innovation? We have a grand total of 3 trials. We pose the question: Has any U.S. money gone to funding these overseas trials? Have any of these trials been funded by U.S. charitable organizations, institutions, or American venture capital? While we are happy to see the sector forward *anywhere*, it is somewhat disappointing that U.S. patients have such a limited access to these promising new therapies. We welcome your thoughts on this.
This week I will focus on whether each of the 54 existing adipose stem cell trials used autologous or allogeneic stem cells. This analysis therefore includes all adipose clinical trials, regardless of recruitment status. Why is knowing whether a clinical trial used autologous or allogeneic adipose stem cells important? It is important because each category represents a different sector of the health care industry. Thus, it gives a hint as to whether Pharma, Device Makers, or Personalized Medicine are leading the new era of Regenerative Medicine.
Anyone who reads this blog knows that we are passionate about the future of adipose stem cells, the stem cells that are derived from your own fat. Many people know about their ability to enhance fat grafts for Breast reconstruction, but we hear very little in the general media about their ability to cure and treat many diseases. Unless you are a biotech investor hanging out in Cytori message boards, you may not know that many Phase I clinical trials with adipose stem cells have even been completed.
While Friday the 13th may be bad luck for some, such was not the case for the U.S. stem cell industry. On Friday, April 13, the Texas Medical Board (TMB) approved the first set of regulations which will allow physicians to offer autologous adult stem cell therapies. And on Monday, April 16, the Wall Street Journal posted an Op Ed piece written by the former FDA commissioner in support of stem cell therapy. Read on to learn why these recent news items may just spell good news for the stem cell industry, and regen medicine.
It is no secret to biotech investors that stem cell stocks suffered dramatic declines in 2011. To be more specific, they were taken out to the woodshed and beat to smithereens. Robin Young summarized that the market capitalization of all the public stem cell sectors declined by 25% in 2011 compared to the previous year. In 2011, total market cap of the entire publicly traded stem cell sector was only $ 3.4 Billion. Every single publicly traded stem cell stock declined in value, except for one company, Mesoblast (ASX: MBX). At this year’s Stem Cell Summit in NY, Robin Young attributed the steep sector decline to ‘regulatory pushback’. That is code speak to mean that the FDA reversed some of the previous favorable decisions from the past. In one example, an allograph product fom Allosource was already approved, but now the FDA was reclassifying the product from tissue to drug causing major upheaval in the industry. However, the good news is that 2011 is now over! The thinking is that the stem cell space is emerging from the ‘valley of death’, or the ‘trough of disillusionment’. Find out what the next mind-blowing application in stem cell therapy is and what companies are projected to lead the marketplace.
Several years ago we became fascinated with the potential of adipose stem cells for both cosmetic and medical purposes. However, we soon discovered that nothing in the written FDA guidelines specifically addressed the use of autologous adipose stem cells. Thus began our journey for an answer. In June 2009, we sent a letter to the FDA asking for a position statement on adipose stem cells. Our request focused specifically on autologous, freshly isolated, adipose stem cells for use in reconstruction. These stem cells are from your own fat, for your own usage, and not culture expanded in a lab. After a very long wait, we recently received a written response from the FDA. First, a little bit of background for any stem cell newbies….
Unless you are a science major, understanding the topic of stem cells can be daunting. The mainstream media has provided some good articles on the topic of stem cells, but there is a lot of misleading information out there. Often times mainstream media lumps all stem cells into one category to imply that all therapies are a decade away and that very little clinical data exists. That is simply not categorically true. In an effort to give you a mile high view of the stem cell world, we made a graphic, Stem Cell Types – Debunking Misconceptions.