July 29, 2008
Not purposefully, mind you. A new study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery shows that lower belly fat is rich in adult stem cells. The study examined the concentration of stem cells in liposuctioned fat taken from different parts of the body. While each source contained adult stem cells, the highest concentration was found in fat from the lower belly and inner part of the thighs. Since many Americans are putting on extra pounds, the country has an almost unlimited supply of stem cells.
But before you dismiss stem cells from fat as unimportant and reach for that extra donut, consider that adult stem cells from fat have shown some important clinical results. As just a few examples, they've been used to grow new bone to correct a skull defect, for breast reconstruction following surgery, and are being used to treat heart damage (maybe an attempt to make up for leading to the heart attack in the first place.) Veterinarians are already using stem cells from fat to treat dogs and horses for numerous conditions, including repairing the tendon of a winning racehorse to put him back on the track and continue winning. Several companies are developing the technology for humans and animals, and one scientific society has focused on the applications of stem cells from adipose (fat) tissue. Stem cells from fat are actually an underappreciated source for potential therapies.
Okay, so how about that extra donut now?