The potential is great for these stem cells to aid in healing damaged and diseased tissues. Not to mention most adults wouldn’t mind giving up a little extra fat for something that could save lives.
Stem cells are valued tremendously for their ability to transform into any type of tissue. The capability of the cells to grow into anything from bone to nerve to heart translates to the conceivable treatment of countless diseases. Previous research has largely been conducted on stem cells from embryos. But with their vast potential to cure they also come with ethical controversy and the possibility of rejection by the body.
However, stem cells found in adults don’t carry these issues. It appears that the prospective value of the newly discovered cells could be very similar to embryonic stem cells. They can resist a number of severe conditions, including attack by digestive enzymes and nutrient or oxygen deprivation. The cells may also be activated by stress, according to the study published in PloS ONE. This would make them ideal in treating damaged tissue.
The discovery of these cells in adult body fat came as an accident. Researchers were originally conducting a trial to grow cells from fat collected by liposuction. After a failure in lab equipment, the cell samples died. But the vigorous stem cells survived, prompting a further study. Continued research must be carried out to discover more about these newfound cells.
More and more studies have been conducted on the use of stem cells to treat eye disease such as macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and Stargardt’s Disease. The potential of extracting these cells from fat may offer a more accessible and affordable source in the execution of further research in this field.