Stem Cells from Fat

Extracting Stem Cells from Fat for Tissue Regeneration


ScienceDaily (May 4, 2011) — Stem cells
extracted from body fat may pave the way for the development of new
regenerative therapies including soft tissue reconstruction following
tumor removal or breast mastectomy surgery, the development of
tissue-engineered cartilage or bone, and the treatment of cardiovascular

An interdisciplinary team of Queen’s University researchers led by
Dr. Lauren Flynn, a professor in the Departments of Chemical Engineering
and Anatomy and Cell Biology, has been working with stem cells extracted
from samples of human fat and is developing new methods in the lab to
develop these cells into mature tissue substitutes.While stem cells
extracted from fat cannot be grown into as many different types of cells
as embryonic stem cells, they do have a number of advantages.”The advantages include less ethical controversy, abundant cell
availability from discarded tissues from elective surgeries like breast
reductions and tummy tucks, and a much reduced possibility for immune
rejection when re-implanting cells extracted from a person’s own fat,”
explains Dr. Juares Bianco, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of
Chemical Engineering and the Human Mobility Research Centre (HMRC) who
is working in the Flynn lab group.

Sarah Fleming, a Master’s candidate in the group, is also working to
establish a new method for growing the fat stem cells in the lab using a
system that mimics the natural tissue environment found within the body.
This work is based on Dr. Flynn’s development of a technique for washing
away all traces of cells from a sample of body fat, leaving behind a
three-dimensional tissue scaffold that she calls “decellularized adipose
tissue,” or “DAT” for short.

This empty scaffold can then be used for soft tissue reconstruction
or as a growing environment for the extracted stem cells. Dr. Flynn’s
preliminary studies have shown that when the stem cells are grown on the
DAT scaffold, they naturally begin to mature into fat cells, suggesting
that the engineered growth environment influences the type of cell that
the basic stem cells will turn into during the tissue regeneration

This research was funded in part by NSERC’s Collaborative Research
and Training Experience Program (CREATE) and was conducted by
researchers in the Human Mobility Research Centre (HMRC). The HMRC is a
partnership between Queen’s University and Kingston General Hospital and
serves as a point of collaboration between the disciplines of medicine,
engineering, health sciences, and information technology.



Scroll to top