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JLeslie's avatar

Do you know anything or have an opinion on stem cells from liposuction fat?

Asked by JLeslie (54554points) January 16th, 2013

My friend who is married to a right wingish sort of Libertarian doctor (the political persuasion actually matters to me in this instance, you will see why later) told me she had liposuction, then they take the fat, do something to it, and then give the stem cells back through an IV. I saw her the day she had it done, she told me she was going to look ten years younger. But, seriously, her biggest hope was that it would cure her Hashimotos disease (autoimmune hypothyroid) and make her healthier in general. Her husband had it done three weeks before.

I had not heard of this therapy, I just tried to google a little and a lot of things about creating blood vessels came up with this sort of stem cell, but I didn’t see anything that sounded like what she did.

She was telling me I should do it, and my response was, “I would be too afraid to try it until I know more and there has been years of it being done.” In fact, I asked her about the testing that has been done, and I don’t remember exactly what she said, but what stuck with me was that she said it is good to do it now before the FDA gets their hands on it and it becomes more expensive. As it is now it costs $8k. Meaning that is what her husband will be charging for the treatment. He is an orthopedic surgeon, and he believes this will be an alternative to having surgery and help in the healing process of people whodo have surgery.

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7 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

That would be the Holy Grail for medicine – if it were true. Stem Cells don’t just magically separate out. IIf they did, I’d be right at the front of the line to have some butt fat suctioned out and squirted in my groin so I could grow a new prostate. Or how about squirting a little near the break in spinal cords of paralyzed accident vicitms so they can walk again.
I think this needs a little more research. The only result I can say with certainly is that your bank account will be $8000 lighter.

Darn that FDA and their pesky rules.

gasman's avatar

I found this article that might help:
Stem cell treatment for patients with autoimmune disease by systemic infusion of culture-expanded autologous adipose tissue derived mesenchymal stem cells

Apparently the big news came from Stanford in 2009 (story) with the discovery that liposuction fat contains cells that are, ”...more quickly and easily coaxed to become induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, than are the skin cells most often used by researchers…”.

In 2012 researchers in Oklahoma used these lipo-derived stem cells to make low-grade blood vessels, a story picked up by FoxNews.

These adult stem cells might, or might not, have the same biological potential as embryonic stem cells. Most research, especially in the US, has focused on adult stem cells because of the politics surrounding research that destroys unwanted frozen embryos the size of a poppyseed.

JLeslie's avatar

What I don’t understand is if these cells are already in our body, why do they need to be sucked out and put back in to help us? How does dumping them back into our circulatory system cause them to fix what is wrong with us?

Not to mention that I think a lot of autoimmune diseases actually have a cause. Like infection for one. We just possibly have not isolated the organism. So, I question the treatment even more.

@gasman Thanks for the link. Did I read correctly that the study was just 10 patients?

I had read about the blood vessels when I was googling around, that sounds more scientific to me.

burntbonez's avatar

I thought there was a question about this recently. Someone was asking if it was safe. I don’t know. I remember reading an article that said when you put the stem cells back it is supposed to help smooth out your skin. I guess liposuction often leaves it a bit bumpy, but this technique helps out with that.

I have no idea what the FDA thinks of it, but I’m pretty sure they test the procedure first before approving it. That’s not to say that undiscovered side effects might show up and it would be taken away, but I would resist scare tactics as a way to get you to jump on the bandwagon. They are probably wrong about the FDA—especially if they are prejudiced against government trying to protect citizens from nefarious doctors.

Not saying this is a bogus procedure. I don’t know. I’d do more research if I were going to think about it.

JLeslie's avatar

@burntbonez My impression was the FDA has not approved it at all. That was my friends point, that if the FDA requires testing the price will go up. I don’t know if the procedure is all out illegal, simply doesn’t fall under the FDA’s jurisdiction, or if the procedure is approved for one use and doctors are doing it “off label” so to speak.

Rarebear's avatar

Sounds like expensive woo to me.

JLeslie's avatar

I asked my friend for info and here is the link regarding it if anyone is interested. I have to say they do touch on things I want to cure in my body. Seductive. But, I am too afraid and skeptical at this point.

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