Researchers Use Adult Stem Cells to Create Soft Tissue

Jul 06, 2007

A Columbia University research team aims to create soft tissue from patients' own bone marrow to perform facial or breast reconstruction.

With a $2.5 million grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, the goal of the Columbia University Medical Center team, led by Jeremy Mao, associate professor of dental medicine, is to create long-lasting soft tissue implants from stem cells harvested from the patient. These stem cells can differentiate into bone, fat, cartilage and other types of cells for facial reconstruction following disfiguring injuries from war, cancer surgery or accidents.

“Our research has shown that mesenchymal stem cells can create tissue that is biocompatible with the host and that the continuous generation of these cells can replenish the implant to reduce shrinkage,” Mao says.

Currently, surgeons often graft from the patient’s own tissue, which creates additional wounds. Grafted cells also fail to stay alive, causing implants to shrink up to 70 percent and lose their shape and volume. Attempts have also been made to use fat cells left over after liposuction, but those cells also have a limited lifespan.

The Columbia team of biologists, biomedical engineers, biomaterial scientists, imaging experts and surgeons has shown that human adult stem cells can create long-lasting implants in mice. The implant is created by placing the stem cells into an FDA-approved scaffold that mimics the conditions needed to turn stem cells into fat cells.

Because stem cells have the ability to replicate and differentiate, they can regenerate the soft tissue, keeping the implant from shrinking. In mice, these cells have successfully created fat cells that could be implanted and retained their size and shape for at least a month. Because the implants can be molded into any size or shape, they could also be used for breast reconstruction.

Source: Columbia University

Explore further: A high-fat diet may alleviate mitochondrial disease

Related Stories

Unlocking the biofuel energy stored in plant cell walls

Jun 10, 2015

By virtue of their chloroplasts, plants are superb harvesters of solar energy. They use it to build leaves, flowers, fruits, stems, and roots. We harvest a small percentage of that energy in the form of food ...

New procedure to obtain induced pluripotent stem cells

Jun 10, 2015

For their ability to differentiate into other cell types, the embryonic stem cells hold a large potential in the medical industry.  Their use, however, poses ethical questions due to the fact that in order ...

Recommended for you

A high-fat diet may alleviate mitochondrial disease

18 hours ago

Mice that have a genetic version of mitochondrial disease can easily be mistaken for much older animals by the time they are nine months old: they have thinning grey hair, osteoporosis, poor hearing, infertility, ...

Cheek muscles hold up better than leg muscles in space

18 hours ago

It is well known that muscles need resistance (gravity) to maintain optimal health, and when they do not have this resistance, they deteriorate. A new report published in the July 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal, however, sugges ...

Sialic acid: A key to unlocking brain disorders

21 hours ago

A new report published in the July 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal suggests that a common molecule found in higher animals, including humans, affects brain structure. This molecule may play a significant role in how brain ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.