Over the last few months, we at Gulf Coast Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center (GCSC & RMC) have been extolling the virtues of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) in the management of a variety of conditions. Due to their multipotent potential, these dynamic little agents of change have been effectively utilized as therapy for osteoarthritis, diabetes, cardiomyopathy, chronic pain, and erectile dysfunction (for more information, we have a blog dedicated to each of these topics). The potential for new applications in regenerative medicine are almost limitless, and research efforts are constantly unearthing new therapy options and conditions that can be positively impacted by the use of adipose-derived stem cells.
Regenerative Tools for Healing
Adipose tissue, which is the connective tissue containing natural fat deposits exists naturally in even the leanest human body, was once considered a passive energy receptacle used only to store “excess fuel.” With the discovery of multipotent stem cells existing within the fat tissue, science has unlocked one of the body’s best-kept secrets. Although stem cells have been long considered as a regenerative tool to aid in healing and repair of damaged tissue, the methods to harvest it have been met with scrutiny and bad press. Stem cells derived from embryonic or umbilical tissue are beneficial, but the stigma surrounding the practice makes it seem possibly unethical in nature. Bone marrow-derived stem cells harvesting requires a painful procedure (often performed under general anesthesia) and carries the risk of complications in addition to expensive culturing because of the low stem cell numbers and yield, which lessens with age. Adipose-derived stem cells (ASC’s), on the other hand, are more easily procured and their isolation yields much higher numbers. Currently, research has shown that freshly isolated stromal vascular fraction (a multipotent cellular culture consisting of stem cells and other naturally-occurring growth agents present in the ASCs), which can be used immediately without further expansion, can be effective in managing skin radiation injuries, burns, and even non-healing skin conditions such as diabetic and decubitus ulcers.
In the case of large-scale skin injury or defect, especially those that damage multiple layers of skin, the most widely known procedure is the misunderstood “skin graft”. To remove healthy skin from one area of the body and transplant it to the damaged area should no doubt fix the problem and the patient as soon as good as new. Unfortunately, this is often times not the case in real life. In situations where large-scale and full-thickness injury has occurred, there is frequently not enough healthy skin left to use for grafting. Skin autographs can only be used to cover skin injuries of less than 30% of the body’s total surface area, which is bad news for the firefighter pulled out of a collapsed building or industrial worker with serious chemical burns. Although great progress has been made to address these conditions, there is still a high rate of patient mortality due to a low availability of donor skin area. Even in the case of a successful cultured epidermal autograft, the result is unsatisfactory in terms of both function and aesthetics due to contracture of the graft during healing, scarring, and infection.
Due to the aforementioned lack of available skin to utilize for grafting purposes, regenerative medicine has looked elsewhere for cellular material to complete the task. It turns out that the same cellular proteins added to the harvested skin graft in the past (fibroblasts containing proteins such as collagen, elastin, laminin, etc.) exist within the cellular matrix naturally found in SVF. The multipotent nature of ASC’s allows it to evolve to become whatever the body needs it to be, which makes it especially useful in tissue regeneration. This is great news not only for patients with damage to more than 30% of their body, but also for those with facial asymmetry, post-cancer radiation defects, and slow-healing traumatic wounds with inadequate blood supply.
Put Your Fat to Work For You
Adipose-derived stem cell therapy has provided a shot in the arm (no pun intended) to the regenerative medicine field, allowing practitioners to care for a wide variety of diseases and conditions using patient’s own excess fat deposits with a minimum of discomfort and upfront cost, as compared to bone marrow-derived therapies. In the area of skin repair and regeneration, ASCs restore not only the outward appearance but also the functionality of the tissue affected. ASCs can be obtained from a relatively small amount of adipose tissue, utilizing a minimally-invasive outpatient procedure. We invite you to contact us with your questions, or schedule a consultation to see how we can put your fat to work for you to improve your quality of life!
At Gulf Coast Stem Cell Regenerative Center, which is an affiliate partner of the Cell Surgical Network, we conduct patient-funded research using the patient’s own autologous stem cells. We aid in the management of autoimmune, degenerative, inflammatory, and ischemic conditions, and our highly skilled team of providers is committed to the goal of alleviating symptoms, enhancing functionality, and improving overall quality-of-life for our patients. Contact Gulf Coast Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center and let us show you what “Excellence with a Human Touch” means. For more information on the full list of diseases and disorders that we currently address, please call (866) 885-4823 or contact us via our website, today.