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Fat Grafting and Stem Cells: Plastic Surgery Meets Regenerative Medicine   

by Diabetes Research Institute on Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 11:05am on T1 Diabetes Cure - Global Headquarters and Diabetes Research Institute Facebook pages.

We at the Diabetes Research Institute and other centers have been able to restore natural insulin production and improve the quality of life for people with diabetes by replacing their lost insulin-producing islet cells. But to make this approach a routine therapy for all with type 1, we will need to overcome two obstacles: the immune system's destruction of these cells and the need for a reliable and unlimited supply of insulin-producing cells to treat the many millions who can benefit from this rapidly advancing technology.

In previous posts, we've described some of our work aimed at minimizing or eliminating the use of anti-rejection drugs, preventing rejection and establishing immune tolerance to insulin-producing cells and we will continue to update you on those efforts. Today, we want to introduce you to one of our research projects focusing on cell supply. In particular, using adult stem cells from our own bodies.

One of our exciting approaches involves the use of adult stem cells taken from a person’s own adipose or “fat” tissue. While researchers have been studying the use of adipose tissue for cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, there is increasing interest in harvesting and transforming a patient own cells into specialized cell types to replace damaged organs and tissues. Being “our own” cells, our immune system will not reject them. Also, adipose derived stem cells are easily obtained, readily available in virtually unlimited quantities and significantly less expensive to harvest and process compared to other sources.

These characteristics, along with the dramatic progress in molecular and cell biology, are opening new possibilities in translational research and the development of novel cell-based and regenerative medicine strategies to cure diabetes and many other conditions.

This research is now underway at the DRI and at one of our collaborating centers in Italy. At one of our upcoming events in New York City next week, D.R.E.a.M.S. in the City, we will be raising money to supprt this innovative research. Dr Ricordi will be attending and will further describe this work. For those who want to learn more of the technical information, you can read a recent publication by clicking here.


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