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Liposuction fat used to create blood vessels

30 July 2012

By Dr Greg Ball

Appeared in BioNews 667

Adult stem cells extracted from liposuctioned fat have been used to grow new blood vessels, according to US scientists. The researchers hope that one day their technique could be used in vascular surgery.

Blocked arteries are treated using small-diameter blood vessel grafts or replacements, diverting blood around the blockage and restoring the artery's function. Currently vessels are transplanted from elsewhere in the body or synthetic materials are used.

But as Dr Matthias Nollert, associate professor at the University of Oklahoma and lead author of the study, said: 'Current small-diameter vessel grafts carry an inherent risk of clotting, being rejected or otherwise failing to function normally'.

The new technology uses adult stem cells found in extracted fat tissue, which are converted into smooth muscle cells in the laboratory. Researchers then grow these cells on a thin membrane, derived from tissue from a human placenta. These cells multiply and are then rolled into tubes of similar diameter to small blood vessels. After three to four weeks, the cells grow into usable vessels.

The researchers tested these in the lab. 'Our engineered blood vessels have good mechanical properties and we believe they will contract normally when exposed to hormones', said Dr Nollert. 'They also appear to prevent the accumulation of blood platelets, a component in blood that causes arteries to narrow'.

The research, presented at an American Heart Association conference, is still at a preliminary stage but the team hopes to test the blood vessels in animals in the next six months.


30 September 2013 - by Claire Downes 
Transplanting people's own stem cells along with their fat could mean more stable transplants in reconstructive breast surgery, a small preliminary trial suggests...

25 June 2012 - by Dr Daniel Grimes 
Human embryonic stem cells have, for the first time, been used to grow a crucial part of the eye, a paper in Cell Stem Cell reports. It is hoped that in the future transplantation of such tissue could help visually impaired people recover their sight...
11 June 2012 - by Dr Rebecca Hill 
A previously unidentified type of stem cell, usually dormant in blood vessels, is at the heart of vascular disease, according to researchers...
06 June 2012 - by Maren Urner 
A stem cell technique to treat the common bone disease osteonecrosis is being pioneered at Southampton General Hospital in the UK...
30 April 2012 - by Helen Brooks 
Scar tissue formed after a heart attack could be repaired without the use of stem cells, according to US scientists...
12 March 2012 - by Dr Rebecca Robey 
Stem cell therapy may remove the need for organ transplant recipients to have lifelong drug treatment to combat the risk of rejection, which would dramatically improve patients' quality of life...

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