Transforming Fat Cells into Stem Cells - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/8/04

Transforming Fat Cells into Stem Cells

We may soon change our thinking about fat now that scientists believe it could be a precious life-saver. Unfortunately, wearing it will still be a problem.

But in the lab, scientists at Duke are testing human fat cells as a source for stem cells, which are the master building blocks for all human tissue. They're taking the fat you might throw away from liposuction patients and finding 62% of those fat cells could be programmed into at least two other different cell types, bone and cartilage.

They're hoping they can direct the fat stem cells to create cartilage to help repair and even replace damaged joints.

Researchers say the fat cells won't completely end the debate over using stem cells from embryos. Scientists say embryonic stem cells still hold the greatest potential to treat brain and spinal cord disorders. The research is being conducted by scientists at Duke University Medical Center and are being presented at the 50th annual Scientific Meeting of the Orthopedic Research Society.

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