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: Hearing quality restored with bionic ear technology used for gene therapy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Recommended for you

LED exposure is not harmful to human dermal fibroblasts

18 hours ago

There was a time when no one thought about light bulbs—one blew, you screwed another one in. Nowadays, it's more complicated, as energy efficiency concerns have given rise to a slew of options, including ...

User comments : 0

More news stories