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Adipose stem cells promising, but caution urged

Article-Adipose stem cells promising, but caution urged

Dallas — Adipose stem cells (ACS) are promising for their use in plastic surgery and regenerative medicine, but more research is needed to determine their safety and efficacy in human patients, according to a review in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

The review, by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Rod Rohrich, M.D., and colleagues, updates research on the science and clinical uses of ASCs, “multipotent” cells that can be induced to develop into bone, cartilage and muscle cells as well as fat cells.

According to an American Society of Plastic Surgeons news release, Dr. Rohrich and co-authors reviewed all known clinical trials of ASCs, most of which have been performed in Europe and Korea. Due to stringent Food and Drug Administration regulations, only three ASC studies have been performed in the United States so far.

The researchers noted interest in ASCs is increasing by leaps and bounds. They found that while plastic surgeons have used ASCs for several types of soft tissue augmentation, such as breast augmentation, studies have explored the use of ASCs for wound healing and as a method of soft-tissue engineering or tissue regeneration, and for generating new bone for use in reconstructive surgery, among other uses.

The reviewers noted, however, that as the number of ASC studies increases, so too does concern about ASCs’ “true clinical potential.”

“For example,” the authors wrote, “there are questions related to isolation and purification of ASCs, their effect on tumor growth and the enforcement of FDA regulations."

Applications for ACS are in their infancy, the authors said. Globally, fewer than 300 patients have been treated using ASCs, and there is no standard protocol for the preparation or clinical applications of ASCs.

“Further basic science experimental studies with standardized protocols and larger randomized trials need to be performed to ensure safety and efficacy of adipose-derived stem cells use in accordance with Food and Drug Administration guidelines,” the authors wrote.

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