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Medicine Science

Facial Bones Grown From Fat-Derived Stem Cells 106

Posted by kdawson
from the best-face-forward dept.
TheClockworkSoul sends in an article up at Scientific American, from which we quote: "Stem cells so far have been used to mend tissues ranging from damaged hearts to collapsed tracheas. Now the multifaceted cells have proved successful at regrowing bone in humans. In the first procedure of its kind, doctors at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center replaced a 14-year-old boy's missing cheekbones — in part by repurposing stem cells from his own body. To create the new bones, which have become part of the patient's own skull structure and have remained securely in place for four and a half months, the medical team used a combination of fat-derived stem cells, donated bone scaffolds, growth factors, and bone-coating tissue. The technique, should it be approved for widespread use, could benefit some seven million people in the US who need more bone — everyone from cancer patients to injured war veterans."
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Facial Bones Grown From Fat-Derived Stem Cells

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  • Cool (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Sylos (1073710)
    This is really cool. I can't wait 'till stemcells can finally regrow whole bodies! Imagine! Immortality at our doorstep!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They already can and do - all the time!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      And imagine those brains that become "inelastic" and slower to learn. Imagine having a body that is immortal, but a brain that is slowly losing function.

      • by Tibia1 (1615959)
        A brain has never been actively tested in a body that does not age. The brain will stay young longer if the body stays young and can continue to provide it what it needs to function correctly.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kohath (38547)

        That's better than a frail body with "a brain that is slowly losing function" ? Really?

        • by Kohath (38547)

          Well, I phrased that wrong and there's no edit feature. I'm guessing people get the gist of it though. I'd rather be healthy and risk loss of cognition than unhealthy with the same risk.

          • I think you illustrated the frail mind quite well :)

          • by vegiVamp (518171)
            um, no ?

            If you think the euthanasia debate was tough, this is a whole new can of worms, McDo sized. For starters, degrading brains in immortal bodies will cause a huge load into the care system, as brains go bad, but the people actually remain healthy and alive.

            Eventually, there'll be a debate on shutting down the bodies of those with nearly non-functional brains, and then comes the debate about where you draw the line on how much congiscence there has to be left before you *can* kill someone.

            Next step, of
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by khallow (566160)

        And imagine those brains that become "inelastic" and slower to learn. Imagine having a body that is immortal, but a brain that is slowly losing function.

        If we can fix the body so that it no longer ages, then we can fix the brain so that it no longer ages.

        • If we can fix the body so that it no longer ages, then we can fix the brain so that it no longer ages.

          That's not automatically true. While GGP may have been joking (stem cells make human bodies all the time, that's what they are for), he/she may also have been referring to the idea that one day we may be able to grow you a new body, maybe without a brain, so then you could transplant your brain from your old body to a new one, extending your life. Not really stopping aging in the rest of your body, but resetting it every say 40 years. That doesn't seem impossible.

          You'd have to keep your same brain though

          • by khallow (566160)

            Short version: "If we can fix the body so that it no longer ages, then we can fix the brain so that it no longer ages." Maybe, maybe not.

            What are the real hurdles though? There's really only one. We don't know how the brain works. My view is that we'll be well past that hurdle by the time we stop aging in the body.

            The idea of transplanting the brain every 40 years is a different issue. That's a lower threshold, so sure, I don't know if we'd have it figured out. Still that gives plenty of time to figure out how to fix aging brains. I think fundamentally, the brain is a fixed complexity system that has some degree of self-repair capability

          • So your brain might actually be able to keep itself new for as long as it's alive, or it might be coaxed to if we could amplify that. It's kind of hard to imagine the new cells would integrate coherently into the complicated structure, but the brain always builds itself once, and more amazing things have been discovered, so who knows.

            More importantly, the brain rewires itself constantly, allowing us to learn. It's not unlikely that new brain cells would be used exactly that way: To learn. The problematic pa

      • Re:Cool (Score:4, Interesting)

        by BikeHelmet (1437881) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @02:11AM (#29782233) Journal

        And imagine those brains that become "inelastic" and slower to learn. Imagine having a body that is immortal, but a brain that is slowly losing function.

        Being 25 years old until I die of stupidity/old-age at 90? (Maybe I burned my house down? =P )

        Sign me up!

    • Better yet we could regrow whole Shakey's Pizzas!
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by joocemann (1273720)

      This is really cool. I can't wait 'till stemcells can finally regrow whole bodies! Imagine! Immortality at our doorstep!

      In July, this year, 3 separate labs were able to produce normal healthy adult reproducing mice from induced pluripotent stem cells.

      Research on mice usually done so because they are mammals like us and many techniques can be easily translated to work on/with humans.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by dirkdodgers (1642627)

      If we had the technology, would the world tolerate its use?

      Currently in first world countries being rich or being poor might make life more or less pleasant for its approximately 77 years, but so far, being the wealthiest or most powerful person in the world can't even guarantee you'll live to see 90.

      If being rich and being poor meant the difference between living to 177 instead of 77, or even 177 instead of 107, what would that do to our society?

      How many people would steal or kill to live even another 70 y

      • by Trahloc (842734)
        Well problem with that is if your willing to kill someone to extend your potential 77 years to a potential 177 years you might just bring yourself to not even making it to 30 since you'll die in the attempt. But imagine a world where if you worked your ass off until 65 you could extend your working years until 135, yeah your working for another 70 years but you'll have over 40 years of retirement almost guaranteed with good investing vs people today retiring at 65 and keeling over at 75. Plus you'll still
        • by vegiVamp (518171)
          At which point you'll be complaining that you die before you can see your great-grandchildren grow up.
          • by Trahloc (842734)
            Well humans always complain ... but I'd rather complain about that then never knowing their names to begin with. :)
  • Is there really a use now for embryonic stem cells now that we can do just about everything with adult stem cells? Really, if we could move some of the less informed political activists for more funding for adult stem cells perhaps we could do a lot more.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by skine (1524819)

      If I've read the literature right, embryonic stem cells are, in general, readily available and easily manufactured. Also, they are the best at forming to any cell type we would want.

      In contrast, adult stem cells are relatively specialized, meaning that they won't make just anything, but things that are somewhat similar.

      That is to say that adult stem cells have been immensely helpful, but we think that embryonic stem cells may be better.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by joocemann (1273720)

        If I've read the literature right, embryonic stem cells are, in general, readily available and easily manufactured. Also, they are the best at forming to any cell type we would want.

        In contrast, adult stem cells are relatively specialized, meaning that they won't make just anything, but things that are somewhat similar.

        That is to say that adult stem cells have been immensely helpful, but we think that embryonic stem cells may be better.

        There are many research programs on embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells, and now induced pluripotent stem cells. All of these have many promising futures in science, yet only adult stem cells and IPSC are promising in the ever-so-influential and variable field of ethics/morality, especially those of fundamentalist origin. You are correct about the easy manufacture of embryonic stem cells. Growing stem cells is actually not hard at all and you can make relatively infinite numbers from one discarded emb

        • by HanClinto (621615)

          If I've read the literature right, embryonic stem cells are, in general, readily available and easily manufactured. Also, they are the best at forming to any cell type we would want.

          False. ESCs have trouble in that they differentiate _too_ much -- they are too unstable, and multiply without regulation (cancer). One of the markers used in detecting if ESCs "took" in rats is to measure tumor rates. While they theoretically have the most potential for forming different tissue types, they have the worst track record for actually behaving how we want them to.

          That is to say that adult stem cells have been immensely helpful, but we think that embryonic stem cells may be better.

          If that's true, then it's interesting that James Thomson, the father of modern ESC research has moved onto ASCs with IPSC. While s

          • I added you on yahooIM.

            • by HanClinto (621615)
              I don't use Yahoo IM anymore (though I imagine I still have a Yahoo acct), though you are welcome to e-mail me (my address is provided at the top of this post).
    • Re:Is there? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @11:19PM (#29781699)

      is there really any reason to be against embryonic stem cells now that they can be harvested without embryo destruction, or are made from sources that would be completely discarded anyway? Really, if we could move some of the less informed political activists for less wharrgarbl we could do a lot more with both types of stem cells.

      • Because scientists are playing god! [dresdencodak.com]
      • by pbizannes (108226)

        These were not embryonic stem cells. This issue has typically been muddied to cause this confusion. They were adult stem cells. The reason to be against the use of embryonic stem cells is because they involve the death of the embryo, and contrary to popular opinion, any first-year textbook on embryology will inform you that an embryo is a human being.

        What therapies have embryonic stem cells given us?,And what expectation is there for embryonic stem cells to be used in therapies? None. What therapies have ad

        • It was a two sentence post and you STILL couldn't read enough of even the first sentence to realise how much you've just embarassed yourself.

          That first year textbook will also tell you that embryonic stem cells are now harvested just fine without causing any harm to viable embryos and are otherwise acquired from ALREADY DISCARDED and nonviable embryos. Basically ones that would be destroyed either way.

          So no, it doesn't require the destruction of an embryo any more than recycling newspaper's people have alre

          • Okay, I'll bite.

            That first year textbook will also tell you that embryonic stem cells are now harvested just fine without causing any harm to viable embryos

            Citation please. Maybe it's because IANA cell biologist, but I am not aware of any mechanism outside of SCNT that provides an avenue for ESC treatment that wouldn't result in severe tissue rejection by the patient.

            Are you hinging the weight of your statement here on "viable"? If so, how is a SCNT embryo not "viable"? If so, those embryos are quite viable, and the usefulness of the stem cells largely depends on their viability. Who wants to take stem cells to cure a disease if the stem ce

            • by HanClinto (621615)

              surplus supply of tens of thousands

              Sorry, that should be "hundreds of thousands". An order of magnitude doesn't solve the problem, and the point still stands.

            • If you're going to troll this obviously (Outstrip the supply? Of something that reproduces indefinately in a lab? REALLY?) you can go spend 3 minutes on google inbetween ad hominems.

              http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22594571/ [msn.com]
              http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1017/p02s01-ussc.html [csmonitor.com]

              Here's some random starter articles just from 30 seconds on google. My citation is "GO fucking google it", i'm not your nanny. You're supposedly an adult, put some of that to use and actually research something instead of expecting everyone t

              • by HanClinto (621615)

                Troll? I'm not the one comparing people who legitimate reasons against ESC with those who bomb abortion clinics. Who's flame-baiting here?

                The first article [msn.com] you gave me showcased using IVF leftovers (which I addressed in my post). Using stem cells harvested in this way has the major problem that they are only suited to academic research where tissue rejection is not a problem, because their genetic material cannot match the patient. I covered this in my post already.

                The second article [csmonitor.com] you sent me showc

    • Re:Is there? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SUB7IME (604466) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @11:19PM (#29781701)

      The question of whether we can do "just about everything with adult stem cells" is still quite open.

      Could we get more funding dedicated to stem cells if we required that it all be used for adult stem cell research? Yes. Would that accelerate the overall pace of advances in stem cell research? Quite possibly not. There are two different games right now: the first is to see what we can do with stem cells (this is largely being done with embryonic stem cells). The second is to see how we can make adult stem cells behave like embryonic stem cells. The second game feeds back into the first. Indeed, if we get good enough at the second, we will no longer need embryonic stem cells, and we can then focus all of our energies on seeing what we can do.

      If and when we get really good at extracting or reprogramming adult cells to behave like embryonic stem cells, we will also have the side benefit of not having to worry about alloimunity (tissue rejection). For example, in the particular case being discussed here, the fear of alloimmunity was probably a key reason for making the effort to use the patient's own cells. In the meantime, from a scientific perspective, it is prudent to continue to invest in both embryonic stem cells and in research towards no longer needing embryos from which to harvest these cells.

      • Good point.

        While I'm not a stem cell researcher, I dare to make a guess anyway:
        Embryonic stem cells will keep their place in research, but medicine will gradually move towards adult stem cells from the patient. Partly because of alloimmunity concerns, partly because cells from the patient are more readily available. Especially fat cells, most people in the west can afford to give up a few pounds of fat for harvesting stem cells from ;-)

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Idiomatick (976696)
      I was thinking it might actually be beneficial if we could unite scientists to give up on embryonic stem cells completely. Sure we would be giving up on possibly a good amount of useful science for no ethical reason.

      But if we did so we could have a new campaign saying the right wing won lets and we are never going to kill fetuses or w/e it is they think. And the same time promote this fancy new stemcell that comes from your own body. It would be a media frenzy that maybe gets the right on board enough for
    • Is there really a use now for embryonic stem cells now that we can do just about everything with adult stem cells?

      There are. Basic research on cell biology for one. One of the best ways to study how a cell commits to whatever fate it's going to take, and maybe find ways of correcting that when it goes wrong, is to study the actual cells. Another is studying how to turn one cell into another, again by studying how cells do it normally.

      One of the successes of ESC research is induced pluripotent stem cells [wikipedia.org]. They were first made based off work done in embryonic stem cells. It looks like IPSC is going to be the technol

      • by HanClinto (621615)

        Is there really a use now for embryonic stem cells now that we can do just about everything with adult stem cells?

        There are. Basic research on cell biology for one. One of the best ways to study how a cell commits to whatever fate it's going to take, and maybe find ways of correcting that when it goes wrong, is to study the actual cells. Another is studying how to turn one cell into another, again by studying how cells do it normally.

        I think by "use", he was talking about treatment uses, not just biological study.

        One of the successes of ESC research is induced pluripotent stem cells [wikipedia.org]. They were first made based off work done in embryonic stem cells.

        Definitely -- but let the record show that this pioneering IPSC research was done with mice, not with humans. I think we're really in a great place right now -- for human treatment, we can use IPSC, and for destructive research, we can use non-human life.

        It looks like IPSC is going to be the technology that will allow us to replace tissues as needed, not ESC, but that might turn out not to be the case. With no cell technology having proven itself capable of replacing every tissue in patients without causing cancer or other problems, the race isn't over, and we should avoid the temptation to call it too early.

        Now you're talking about treatment, rather than research? Even if we solve the problems of tissue rejection through a foreign ESC donor, where is one supposed to get enough d

        • by HanClinto (621615)
          Sorry, "Even if we solve the problems of tissue rejection" should be "Unless we solve the problems of tissue rejection" -- it was meant as a somewhat ridiculous thing to imagine in the near-term.
  • Fat head. (Score:2, Funny)

    by schlick (73861)

    Now he really has a "fat head"

    "To create the new bones...the medical team used a combination of fat-derived stem cells..."

  • " The technique, should it be approved for widespread use, could benefit some seven million people in the US who need more bone" Isnt that what those Ashly Madison commercials have been about?
  • Adipose Industries is acting up again!
  • Hmmm just like Skele-gro from Harry potter. Adds another check-mark for the old contra: "Any significantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"
  • The surgeons had to build the shape and structure of the desired bone, the scaffolding, from cadaver femur bone tissue.

    From the popular media I've been lead to believe the promise of stem cells the ability to grow specific bones, tissues, and organs, using information encoded in the cells, rather than just growing the generic tissue and shaping it artificially.

    What needs to happen for us to go from growing cheek bone tissue around scaffolding, to implanting stem cells and instructing them to build cheek bon

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jarik C-Bol (894741)
      "a whole lot" the idea of programing cells to multiply and construct a particular organ/bone/body part, is FAR beyond what they have done here. for one thing, you have to be able to program cells that don't exist yet, to recognize when they are the the last ones in the part, and not to multiply again. in addition, some parts of the body part are not exactly the same as others. say you are growing a heart. the cells in the heart walls, are not going to be exactly like the cells in the heart valves. programin
    • by khallow (566160)

      What needs to happen for us to go from growing cheek bone tissue around scaffolding, to implanting stem cells and instructing them to build cheek bones?

      It may actually turn out to be impossible to do the latter without scaffolding. The problem is that when the fetus develops, everything grows at predetermined rates that fit with everything else that is going on in the fetus. When you're trying to grow a cheek bone on an adult, you're growing tissue out of sequence and off schedule. You can no longer count on whatever queues the body uses during the fetus development stage. They might still work, but that's unlikely in my view. In fact, I'd say that the nee

      • by Trahloc (842734)
        I'd disagree. It's a daily thing for humans to do things that were 'impossible' even a few years ago. Someone may discover the queues a fetus uses someone else may figure out a way to restrict those queues to only be received by specific tissues. Those two discoveries would get around your scenario. I personally believe it will be very complex and I don't think it'll be anytime soon, but there is nothing about the procedure of growing specific tissues at specific locations that I'd call impossible. Thi
        • by khallow (566160)
          Ok, let me rephrase that then. Using some sort of scaffolding (which appears to be precisely the "alternative" you refer to) just seems to me to be a lot less work, something like the difference between a light switch and a Rube Goldberg mechanism for turning the lights off. How would you determine that the body part has grown in correctly and has the correct shape and features?
  • Tell me again why we need embryonic stem cells.

    LK

    • by khallow (566160) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:26AM (#29781929)
      At the least, we need to know if we can replicate fully the features and functions of embryonic stem cells. We'll need embryonic stem cells for that purpose alone. If adult stem cells don't work completely like embryonic stem cells, that means that we may need a supply of embryonic stem cells indefinitely as well.
      • by HanClinto (621615)
        For the "ESCs are good worth it for the sake of research" argument, it's helpful to remember that just about all functional ESC research can be done with non-human life, and that many of our pioneering ESC researchers have abandoned ESCs in favor of IPSC.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      Tell me again why we need embryonic stem cells.

      Tell me again why you're asking on slashdot instead of reading a scientific paper on the benefits of ESC research? Tell me you don't rely on /. comments for ALL your information on important subjects of the day.

      • by asylumx (881307)
        Mod parent up please? Too many people depend on random internet comments to form their opinions instead of doing their own research, allowing them to become what I call "Lazy-boy experts." These people know very little but think every answer they have is the right one.
  • by jnelson4765 (845296) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:10AM (#29781865) Journal
    This technique will be a great boon for people with a massive amount of dental damage - where the jaw has been eaten away from disease, or injury has made it impossible to even use dentures. It'll likely be expensive for a long time, but for people who are facing a life of eating through a straw, and having massive facial deformities, this would be a huge change in their lives.
  • Jaw bone replacement from stem cells was done in Finland already two years ago, although I am not able to comment on the procedure itself..

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fi&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fsuomenkuvalehti.fi%2Fjutut%2Fterveys-ja-tiede%2Freino-leisti-sai-kantasoluista-kasvatetun-uuden-ylaleuan [google.com]

  • I suspect a lot of us on /. could contribute.

  • How far are they from growing me the last phalanx that i lost in an accident? Sorry, i'm on my cellphone

    • by KillerBob (217953)

      If you want to grow some phalanxes, I suggest that you join a group that reenacts ancient greek military tactics, or you start playing Civilization.

      If you want to regrow some phalanges, that's another story. Have you considered prosthetics?

  • Here are before and after photos [cincinnatichildrens.org] of the teen.

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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