Adipose-derived stem cells(ADSCs) are a ready source of regenerative phenomenon comprising a variety of cell types, which appear to have remarkable regenerative capabilities. Owing to their potential, ubiquity, and ease of procurement, ADSCs have provided excellent opportunities for practitioners of regenerative medicine to help their patients at the point of care.
Fat, or adipose tissue, provides a ready and plentiful source of ADSCs; which are isolated from one’s own, autologous adipose tissue through a painless, minimally invasive mini-liposuction. A couple of ounces of fat are all that is needed and are removed with little discomfort, under local tumescent anesthesia. The fat is discarded leaving behind a suspension of a variety of stem cell types, bathed in hundreds of beneficial cytokines and growth factors, collectively called the stromal vascular fraction(SVF). SVF is, in effect, tissue juice or tissue soup!
As mentioned, SVF contains large numbers of a variety of regenerative cells. This combination of different species of progenitor cells offers excellent opportunities for repair of damage from many illnesses and injuries- both acute and chronic, as well as mitigate the effects of advancing age. In addition to ADSCs, SVF also contains endothelial precursor cells and endothelial cells, which have the ability to restore the single cell lining (endothelium) found in organs and body cavities. Macrophages are white blood cells, which are found stationary in tissues and mobile as scavenging infection fighters, are also attracted as a result of the procedure and aid in the regenerative properties of SVF.
Recent advances in the study of tissue regeneration have shown that SVF, with its wide variety of specialized cell types, growth factors, and cytokines, is imminently suited to study in regenerative medicine. SVF’s can be obtained with less laborious means than other sources of regenerative cells, without needing general anesthesia or advanced culturing. Further, since SVF is “tissue juice” it contains the potential for forming new muscle cells, organ tissue regeneration, immune system support, and a variety of other functions. Hence, SVF administration can result in benefiting a wide range of conditions from Crohn’s disease to osteoarthritis. Utilizing a simple outpatient procedure, patients can harness the power of their own “reserve” of dormant stem cells to specifically target their own health conditions and improve their quality-of-life through a safe and state of the art therapeutic intervention.
The potential of the regenerative powers of ADSCs was known for almost fifty years when the term “stromal vascular fraction” was coined. But it was not until around 2001 the composition of SVF was fully identified and the full potential realized. Apart from self-medication by a brilliant Korean physician, following a heart attack, the first clinical applications saw the light in 2007 and 2008, and they were focused on the treatment of post-radiation therapy of breast cancer patients. Fat grafts enhanced with SVF, known as cell-assisted lipotransfer, were pioneered in Japan and reported in 2008. Both of these early clinical trials reported promising results, such as an improved rate of graft retention. In the following decade, research and clinical trials into the use of SVF in medical applications and treatment increased significantly. The most promising finding to come out of this research is the wide array of conditions that can be treated with SVF deployment. A variety of pulmonary, arterial, and vascular diseases have been shown to benefit, and trials are currently underway for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis, Alopecia, Diabetic foot ulcers and Erectile Dysfunction, as well as cosmetic applications such as breast augmentation, scar remodeling, and care of burn patients. One clinical trial is indicating that SVF application can be utilized in dental implant surgery, minimizing the wait time for root implantation. Unlike cultured and other varieties of stem cell, autologous SVF has had no instances of rejection by the patient’s immune system and contains a host of specialized cell types to tackle any job the patient’s individual medical conditions require.
However, it should be noted that these treatments are not without controversy! Any therapy referencing “stem cells” will conjure up emotive thoughts in most people, invoking thoughts of fetal research and meddling, and tending to be misunderstood. The research into valuable stem cell therapies took a backseat in the public eye to the divisive methods of collection, namely the harvesting of fetal tissue (from the fetus, placenta, and umbilicus) for stem cell research and therapy in the past. Also, stem cells were historically derived from either these contentious sources or from a painful bone marrow aspirating procedure. Allogenic or homologous transplantation, utilizing a seemingly-compatible host other than the patients themselves, often leads to rejection of the implanted cells and unnecessary negative health consequences, unless perfectly matched. SVF therapy, however, utilizes the patient’s own autologous fat tissue to derive the SVF cells from, thereby reducing the chances of rejection to nothing. However, due to the clinical manipulation required to produce SVF, especially viable and effective ADSCs, it is susceptible to regulation by the FDA. It could be said that the regulatory limitations, such as the REGROW (Reliable and Effective Growth for Regenerative Health Options that Improve Wellness) Act of 2016 takes the focus away from discovering new and exciting applications and focuses instead on scientific and policy debates. However, patient safety is the first priority in medical treatment, and FDA regulations will help prevent potential abuse and keep untested therapies from being rushed to the market and point of care. With proper research and a focus on the need of the patient population, many unmet medical needs can be addressed with this exciting new treatment option.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells, the proper name for these multipotent differentiating stem cells, have been studied extensively and have been shown consistently to hold great regenerative and therapeutic potential. The potential for use of SVF and its ubiquitous constituents of ASDCs, to treat a great variety of medical conditions is astounding. Continuous research within the parameters of existing FDA regulation is crucial to staying abreast of new developments in the field. We at Gulf Coast Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center are actively engaged in research programs, and managing a wide range of varied disorders, including orthopedic, degenerative, neurological and autoimmune.
Please feel free to call us to that we can discuss your individual conditions and needs, as well as suitability for SVF therapy for you personally. Contact Gulf Coast Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center and let us show you what “Excellence with a Human Touch” means. For more information about the diseases and disorders that we currently address and study, please call (866) 885-4823. Our facility is located at 1153 Ocean Springs Rd., Ocean Springs, MS. 39564. Alternatively, visit our website at www.gulfcoaststemcell.com.