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Study: Fat Tissue New Source of Stem Cells for Transplant?

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have successfully isolated and cultured human hematopoietic stem cells from fat tissue, finding another source of cells for reconstituting the bone marrow of patients undergoing intensive radiation therapy for blood cancers. Fat tissue has the ability to rapidly expand or contract in accordance with nutritional constraints. In so doing, it requires rapid adjustment in its blood supply and supporting connective tissue. Based on reports that the connective tissue vascular fraction of fat tissue contains stem cells that give rise to pericytes -- cells surrounding small blood vessels -- researchers led by Albert D. Donnenberg, Ph.D., professor and director of the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Laboratory, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, isolated the vascular cells from human fat tissue and expanded the cells by growing them in a specialized blood-culturing medium for 21 to 42 days. Using cell-sorting, the researchers detected a broad spectrum of hematopoietic cells among the cultured cells at varying stages of differentiation. They detected CD34+ cells at approximately the same frequency as is present in freshly isolated bone marrow. In bone marrow, CD34+ expression indicates the presence of progenitor cells which give rise to all of the different types of blood cells. These data indicate that hematopoietic stem cells, or cells that give rise to them, are an integral part of normal fat tissue. Donnenberg said that the use of a patient's own bone marrow or blood-derived stem cells for bone marrow reconstitution carries some risk that these cells are contaminated with the patient's own tumor cells: "Since it has been shown in some cases that tumor cells contaminating bone marrow grafts are the source of recurrent malignancies after autologous transplantation, this might be a way of giving patients who need bone marrow reconstitution their own hematopoietic cells derived from a source other than their defective bone marrow," he said in a University press release. The work was presented last month at the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society North American Chapter meeting in Toronto.
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Publication:Transplant News
Date:Aug 1, 2007
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