The use of fat stem cells is not without risk, something brought into sharp focus late last year (2012) when stories surfaced in the media concerning a lady in Los Angeles who had a cosmetic procedure in which mesenchymal stem cells isolated from her own harvested fat were injected around her eyes along with a FDA approved dermal filler used to reduce wrinkles. The dermal filler contained calcium hydroxylapatite which nudged the stem cells to become bone which had to then be surgically removed. If you didn’t catch this story you can read about it by clicking this link.
Fat tissue is rich in biologically versatile mesenchymal stem cells and for this reason many researchers and doctors justifiably feel they could revolutionize some aspects of medicine. Not surprisingly doctors in the US and abroad, especially cosmetic surgeons, latched on to fat stem cells and began employing them in various guises (purified, minimally manipulated, etc.) to do cosmetic procedures and treat various diseases and medical conditions. Physician and adult (nonembryonic) stem cell expert Dr. David Steenblock worked for a very brief time with adipose stem cells but abandoned them for a number of reasons including certain safety concerns (More on this below), the FDA’s classification of them as constituting a new drug (Click to read more), and the fact they did not produce healing outcomes greater than what he had seen in the stem cell-rich bone marrow aspirate treatments he has been doing had doing since 2005 (Nota bene: Dr. Steenblock processes the stem cell-rich bone marrow aspirate he employs to treat patients in a way that fully complies with the FDA’s rules concerning minimum manipulation. Click to read his clinic’s statement of compliance).
One clinically defining difference between fat stem cells and those from bone marrow is this: While bone marrow stem cells naturally migrate from bone into all our bloodstreams and then make their way to tissues and organs through the human body including the brain where they participate in repair and restorative activities, something which constitutes a natural healing mechanism and health supportive role for bone marrow stem cells, the same cannot be said of fat stem cells. They are not, for instance, summoned to the brain when injury or disease strikes.
Of course, many foreign clinics use a patient’s own fat stem cells to treat a variety of diseases and there are certainly many glowing patient stories and very few horror stories connected with these treatments. With this said, this hardly constitutes credible proof that there are no risks connected with this, especially long term. We are, after all, not talking about augmenting a natural mechanism – adding bone marrow stem cells to shore up already mobilized and engrafted bone marrow – but introducing fat stem cells which are not normally part of nature’s own healing kit.
For adults with serious diseases who have little to lose long term by doing a treatment or series of treatments involving fat derived stem cells, Dr. Steenblock does caution them to make sure they have no tumors or microtumors in their body. Why? There is evidence that fat tissue progenitor cells naturally gravitate to tumors and participate in processes linked to their growth and perhaps spread (Two abstracts concerning this follow below). To infuse a patient who has such tumors or microtumors with fat stem cells would thus be akin to throwing gasoline on a fire.
Naturally Dr. Steenblock is concerned that foreign clinics and renegade ones in the US that process fat stem cells beyond what the FDA allows may be putting their patients (especially young folks) at elevated risk of complications and other problems down the road
Anyone needing reliable, sound advice concerning stem cell therapies is invited to call Dr. Steenblock’s Clinic at 1-800-300-1063 (9 am to 5 pm Pacific Time, Monday through Friday) to arrange for a FREE consultation.
http://www.cosmeticsurg.net/blog/2012/01/11/fda-stem-cells-from-your-own-fat-are-a-drug/ – FDA: Stem Cells from Your Own Fat are a Drug
http://www.nature.com/stemcells/2007/0712/071220/full/stemcells.2007.131.html – “Circulating stem cells – Haematopoietic stem cells patrol the body to ward off infection” in Nature Reports Stem Cells
Published online: 20 December 2007 | doi:10.1038/stemcells.2007.131
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23038706 – Human periprostatic white adipose tissue is rich in stromal progenitor cells and a potential source of prostate tumor stroma
A body of growing evidence now implicates white adipose tissue as a relevant source of stromal progenitor cells recruited to the tumor microenvironment to form supportive tumor stroma. While the role of periprostatic (PP) adipose tissue in prostate cancer progression has been barely appreciated, we sought to determine the progenitor cell population in PP adipose tissue and the association with prostate cancer. We isolated and characterized CD31(-)CD34(+)CD45(-)CD146(-) progenitor cells (adipose-derived stem cells [ASC]) in paired samples of PP and preperitoneal visceral adipose tissue from prostate tissue and peripheral blood mononuclear cells of prostate cancer and nodular prostatic hyperplasia patients. ASC were quantified by flow cytometry and confirmed through target gene expression. Here we show a significantly higher amount of ASC in PP than in visceral adipose tissue, independent of body mass index and prostatic disease. In the prostate, ASC are increased in cancer compared with prostatic nodular hyperplasia patients. Concordantly, adipsin gene (CFD) expression, which is known to be up-regulated in adipose stem cells, was overexpressed in PP adipose tissue, in the prostate of cancer patients and in prostate CD31(-)CD34(+)CD45(-)CD146(-) sorted cells. ASC were found at higher levels in the blood of prostate cancer patients simultaneously overweight/obese. Present findings indicate that PP adipose tissue is a reservoir of progenitor cells with the potential to migrate towards prostate tumors, although its clinical significance merits further evaluation.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21607127 – Adipose tissue-derived progenitor cells and cancer
Recruitment of stem cells and partially differentiated progenitor cells is a process which accompanies and facilitates the progression of cancer. One of the factors complicating the clinical course of cancer is obesity, a progressively widespread medical condition resulting from overgrowth of white adipose tissue (WAT), commonly known as white fat. The mechanisms by which obesity influences cancer risk and progression are not completely understood. Cells of WAT secret soluble molecules (adipokines) that could stimulate tumor growth, although there is no consensus on which cell populations and which adipokines are important. Recent reports suggest that WAT-derived mesenchymal stem (stromal) cells, termed adipose stem cells (ASC), may represent a cell population linking obesity and cancer. Studies in animal models demonstrate that adipokines secreted by ASC can promote tumor growth by assisting in formation of new blood vessels, a process necessary for expansion of tumor mass. Importantly, migration of ASC from WAT to tumors has been demonstrated, indicating that the tumor microenvironment in cancer may be modulated by ASC-derived trophic factors in a paracrine rather than in an endocrine manner. Here, we review possible positive and adverse implications of progenitor cell recruitment into the diseased sites with a particular emphasis on the role in cancer progression of progenitors that are expanded in obesity.