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Medicine Science

Liposuction Leftovers Make Easy Stem Cells 67

Posted by Soulskill
from the our-nation-is-wealthy-again dept.
uuddlrlrab sends along this quote from a report in Nature: "The Stanford researchers used liposuction to extract a couple liters of fat from the bellies of four overweight individuals aged 40 to 65. They then treated the tissue to remove all the gooey, globular fat, leaving behind a collection of fat tissue stem cells. Unlike standard techniques, which require about a month to culture skin biopsies to populations large enough for the reprogramming process, the fat tissue was ready to go after two days of pretreatment. What's more, the cellular reprogramming took only two more weeks and was 20-times more efficient than when converting fibroblasts using the same technique. 'We basically shave off six to eight weeks compared to what the other guys are doing with fibroblasts,' says [Stanford's Joseph Wu], who is now working to find safer ways to reprogram fat without using viruses."
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Liposuction Leftovers Make Easy Stem Cells

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    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Speaking of which why the HELL do we give handicap placards and motorized scooters to really fat people? Aren't they the ones who need to walk more than anyone? You're not handicapped just because you can't put the fucking fork down, lard-o. Seriously most of the time I see someone using a handicapped parking space or those motorized chairs at the store, they have two arms and two legs and they are capable of standing and walking, they're just disgusting fatasses. Why the fuck are my tax dollars being u
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by Dyinobal (1427207)
        You've a lot of rage. Did a fat person sit on you as a child?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jgtg32a (1173373)
        I thought fat people lowered health insurance costs because they died faster.
      • by ixidor (996844)
        alot of the 'fat' people you see with the handicapped placards, have them because thier knees are shot, or about to go. my mom has a thyroid problem, is overweight, not from overeating, and she cannot walk very far without her knees giving out. i know of 2 other people in this situation. i know 1 anecdot != fact, but i would wager this is the case with the majority of overweight people. so before you fat-bash, did you consider that maybe, just maybe they cannot walk that far?
      • Are they handicapped because they're fat or are they fat because they're handicapped?
        Perhaps you're confusing cause and effect
    • How the hell can a first post be redundant?
  • Which is more profitable?
  • Finally !! (Score:1, Redundant)

    by BosstonesOwn (794949)

    Now being fat can be a new industry in the US !!!

    At least we can say we are leading at something !

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's the next logical step given that America's leading exports are Hollywood and McDonald's.
        --Ethanol-fueled

  • Now my stomach is like a cord blood bank. I can maintain my pearish figure and have the excuse of regrowing body parts in the future. Sweet.

  • Woohoo! (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

    Use that beer belly to save your life, or just grow your penis.
    See?! The american lifestyle is truly the best!

  • USA! USA! (Score:5, Funny)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @11:41AM (#29367523) Journal

    Talk about an abundant national resource! Sucks to be one of you skinny Frenchies!

  • Wait... (Score:5, Funny)

    by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @11:42AM (#29367541) Journal
    Wait... So I can get thin, and get a new liver cloned at the same time. Sweet! I'll drink to that!
  • Outdated news (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This is old news. They've been doing this in Japan for a couple of years already through a technique called Cell-Assisted Lipotransfer. They're using it e.g. for breast enhancement and breast reconstruction. See the paper at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17518674

    Typical: what's been common in Japan for 3 years now is being heralded as revolutionary in the US, simply because it's Stanford? Can't they think of something that other people HAVEN'T done yet?

    • So wait, the japanese had the technology to do liposuction and generate induced pluripotent stem cells, and couldn't find anything other than boobs?

      Seriously though: this is not the same thing. At all. That was taking fat out and putting fat back in. This is taking fat out and making a liver to put in... in theory. To use a car metaphor, we're talking about the ability to take any spare part from your car and turn it into a new engine. You're saying that's old technology because we have been able to us

      • by lorenlal (164133)

        So wait, the japanese had the technology to do liposuction and generate induced pluripotent stem cells, and couldn't find anything other than boobs?

        I'm sorry, I don't understand how that's a problem. I mean, if I were them, I'd have a very difficult time forcing myself to find other uses.

  • They also make a delicious, buttery spread.

  • Or at least reimburse me for the surgery!

  • by FuegoFuerte (247200) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @11:47AM (#29367625)

    Here I thought we were just becoming a nation of lard-asses, when really it was a sneaky plot to build up our future stem cell reserves. Thank you, McDonalds for your SuperSized McWisdom.

  • Will the demand for stem cells create an industry of fat cell harvesters based on offering free liposuction? Oh, and to add a proper /. comment to this: Finally, America will no longer be the butt of all fat jokes.

  • STOP IT! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @11:51AM (#29367687)

    Just stop it with these "other source of stem cells" stories. Pretty soon the whole aborted fetus market bubble will crash and I'm still heavily leveraged!

    • Just stop it with these "other source of stem cells" stories. Pretty soon the whole aborted fetus market bubble will crash and I'm still heavily leveraged!

      You worry too much. People will just start aborting fat fetuses for stem cells.

    • Re:STOP IT! (Score:5, Informative)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @01:59PM (#29369681)

      Not to ruin the joke, but there are two important points which I worry might get trampled
      1. embryonic stem cells don't come from "aborted fetuses," they come from in vitro fertilization. I realize a lot of people don't think there's any difference, but these aren't from unwanted pregnancies being terminated at abortion clinics, these are embryos that were always headed for the biomedical waste pile. By the time you know you're pregnant, your embryo doesn't appear to contain any cells which are ESC.
      2. ESC aren't alternatives to this. Embryonic stem cells come from another individual, unless that embryo is a clone of you, your body would probably reject tissues derived from ESC as it would from any other adult. Being able to make pluripotent stem cells more efficiently from YOUR OWN fat on the other hand wouldn't have that problem. If you needed a new heart in the future, you might undergo microliposuction one week, wait a week or month while they turned that tissue into induced pluripotent stem cells and made those cells into a new heart, then you'd undergo surgery to remove your original heart and put in the heart made from transformed fat cells. Or maybe they'd just enrich your original heart with fat stem cells turned into cardiomyocytes. Who knows. But you can't make a heart from ESC and put it into yourself without being on immunosupressant drugs for the rest of your life.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @11:52AM (#29367691) Homepage

    So if someone has some sort of injury that could be treated with stem cells, they can use the patient's own cells to do the repair. This would probably bring about the fastest possible recovery time for a patient.

    Can they make blood cells in a similar fashion I wonder?

    Medical research seems to have really plateaued over the past 20 years or so. Money is spent on cancer research and all manner of other things but improvements have been incremental, meanwhile, the over-use of antibiotics has led to even more troubling problems. But this stem cell stuff really seems to be the right idea when it comes to healing and repairing things and that is some seriously productive progress. While I am sure we are a long way off from replacing lost limbs, simple, more consistent tissues seem to be an easy candidate for replacement and repair using these methods... even internal organs seem a good candidate for stem cell treatment.

    Damn you "W!" You held progress back by at least 8 years and maybe more. (On the other hand, perhaps his dumbassed-ness led to further research into easier and more accessible means of getting stem cells...) Anyway, damn you "W" just the same.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, W's restrictions on funding of embryonic stem cell research lead to much more work on non-embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are typically too "wild" and lead to tumors when used for therapies. Adult stem cells (like these fat cells) are "tamer" and show far greater promise. I believe that most embyronic stem cell work has been a waste of effort and resources and was merely a useful club for the media and celebrities to bash the pro-lfe crowd.

      • by jgtg32a (1173373)
        More or less this I would have avoided getting political with it and stuck to the instability of embryonic cells, but this post in on the money.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Adult stem cells (like these fat cells) are "tamer" and show far greater promise. I believe that most embyronic stem cell work has been a waste of effort and resources and was merely a useful club for the media and celebrities to bash the pro-lfe crowd.

        You've misinterpreted the research. On their own, adipocyte stem cells haven't shown any therapeutic value. These researchers reprogrammed adipocyte stem cells into something that is indistinguishable from embryonic stem cells, which happen to be far more useful. In effect, they've made embryonic stem cells w/o using an embryo. Within the stem cell biology community (of which I am a member), there's little doubt that this general approach will provide the basis for future cell replacement therapies. It

    • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @12:35PM (#29368409)

      Damn you "W!" You held progress back by at least 8 years and maybe more. (On the other hand, perhaps his dumbassed-ness led to further research into easier and more accessible means of getting stem cells...) Anyway, damn you "W" just the same.

      You do realize that this research was eligible for federal funding under George W. Bush, right?
      As a matter of fact, because of his limitations on embryonic stem cell research, more money was available for this sort of research than would have been otherwise.
      The only reason that medical research has "plateaued" is because treatment for the easy and/or obvious stuff has been developed:
      Smallpox--infectious, frequently deadly---cured, infectious agent is extinct
      Polio--infectious, results in devastating disability or death---effective vaccine developed and deployed

      The fact of the matter of the drugs used to treat diabetes the majority were developed in the last 20 years. The reason that improvements appear to be incremental is because all of the developments that lead to massive increases in life expectancy are done.

      • The reason that improvements appear to be incremental is because all of the developments that lead to massive increases in life expectancy are done.

        I think that was his point. He doesn't believe there are no more significant developments to be had, but none are happening.

      • by lennier (44736)

        "treatment for the easy and/or obvious stuff has been developed: "

        Easy, obvious and affecting well-off Westerners, yes.

        Easy, obvious and generating zero revenue for drug companies? Not so much.

    • by jgtg32a (1173373)
      There are already artificial blood cells and you can actually thank the Jenova's Witnesses for that.
  • ICK! This one grosses me out!

    Besides, what if the stem cells turn out to pass on the "fatty" gene?
  • where can i sign up?
  • by Gorm the DBA (581373) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @12:30PM (#29368325) Journal
    All these years I'd volunteered to be a fat donor....finally realized!
  • I propose fat farms! Not like the camp, I mean real ones. You can make a fortune in Alabama and Mississippi selling fat for $100/oz or whatnot.
  • Can you imagine if the plastic surgeons actually worked this into the price of liposuction, everyone would be getting it, as their substantial donation of fat could give them a reimbursement of sorts....cool!

  • But once everybody has to pay health care premiums to the private insurance corporations you just know they'll whomp on "obese" people. They're - Baucus and "the Gang of Six" - already looking at charging smokers more, and charging people who are 60 (just about when their income goes into decline with retirement) five times as much as somebody who is 20.

    So we'll end up without any fat to fill the jugs for the people who can afford to buy the life-extending treatments that will come on-line with ready acces

  • It turned out that this new development eventually put Tyler Durden's soap-making enterprise out of business.....

  • by bradbury (33372) <Robert@Bradbury.gmail@com> on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @02:43PM (#29370417) Homepage

    The problem with any approach using "bulk" cell therapies, particularly from older individuals, is the lack of quality control over the cells involved. With large cell numbers harvested from individuals the cells will have accumulated a variety of mutations, some of which are likely to make the cells cancer prone. Anyone undergoing therapy using large volumes of cells which may not have been subject to multiple levels of quality screening is asking for cancer. Any physician performing therapies using such cells is asking for a malpractice suit. You may be able to get away with this in 40 year old patients where the accumulation of mutations is lower, but with 60+ year old patients the risks will be higher and the success rate of the therapies will be lower. You have to ask why a company, such as Regenexx, which is actually performing human stem cell therapies, is (a) using marrow derived stem cells (which have lower mutagen and free radical exposure compared with adipose tissue); and (b) makes clear distinctions between the GOOD/FAIR/POOR prospects of people undergoing therapies. There are several cases in the literature and conference reports that stem cell therapy success becomes progressively poorer with the age of the donor. For example bone marrow transplants from old mice into young mice have a well deserved reputation for failure.

    It is useful to note that all living humans are the product of a single cell, and that those humans are subjected to some fairly rigorous quality control tests (conception and gestation) and that if 60-70% of human conceptions end in miscarriages (as currently is believed) then the quality control is fairly ruthless. If one is playing with numbers of cells which may exceed the number of humans on the planet [1] it is reasonable to start discussing that they have a natural (cumulative) "mutational load" equal to that of all of humanity (plus all of humanity that has ever been conceived). I think the odds may be better at Russian roulette.

    Disclosure: I am the author of a pending patent on methods to identify "pristine", e.g. "least mutated", stem cells which can be used for therapeutic purposes.

    1. Dealing with billions of cells is not uncommon in bulk therapies if one considers that the human body by various measures probably contains 10-100 trillion cells.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not to be flippant, but it almost sounds like you are spreading peremptive FUD against a treatment that might end-up competing with procedures that use "your baby".

      Any physician performing therapies using such cells is asking for a malpractice suit. You may be able to get away with this in 40 year old patients where the accumulation of mutations is lower, but with 60+ year old patients the risks will be higher and the success rate of the therapies will be lower.

      You fail to define the timescale which this increased risk of cancer operates on, and how the risk increases over-time. For example if the increased risk is only a few percent in the first 10-20 years, but then increases dramatically afterwards, I doubt many patients in their 60+ would care if it ment having the tissue/organs they needed without

  • They get paid for the fat coming and going. Where do I sign up as a Michelin inspector?
  • I've got a spare lots of lbs of fat to get rid of, how much can I get per lb for selling the stem cells?

    Unfortunately it's likely a commodity market since over 60% of the USA is obese. Sigh.

  • So, in the future... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr. Roadkill (731328) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @06:46PM (#29373369)
    ...there's a chance that health insurers may require a certain minimum BMI in order to ensure you have enough raw materials available for the kind of interventions they're likely to need to fund, or else your premiums will skyrocket to cover the lengthier and more-expensive tissue culture techniques and the extended time on life support needed while your doctors repair your heart or grow you a new liver?

    I'll take three triple cheeseburgers, a 40-pack of McNuggets and two "pounders", thanks.
  • so we should expect to see yet more encouragement of people to take the easy way out and not behave like responsible human beings? yes. i'm totally ignoring people predisposed to obesity due to genetic ailments. but really. now that we have this information (and great though it is), what are the ramifications? subsidized liposuction? do what you want, don't pay for it with your health (at least up front), and everything's cool?

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