ITALY – Fat Stem Cells Ideal to Repair Heart

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Seal of the University of Bologna, Italy
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Not all stem cells are ‘good’ at aiding the heart in repairing itself after a heart attack. Apparently, ‘baby cells’ present in human fat are the best equipped to perform this task and could be used in human testing by the end of 2009. “ We have seen that a simple stem cell transplant into a heart after a heart-attack is not sufficient. There are different types of stem cells that are better adapted to aiding the heart in the healing process. Instead of hematopoietic stem cells used in initial studies, mesenchymal stem cells are now being used.

We have observed that there is a precious source of mesenchymal stem cells in human fat, and they can be removed with a simple liposuction,” explained Carlo Ventura from the University of Bologna at the INBB (National Institute for Biostructures and Biosystems) Interuniversity Consortium Conference in Rome, while speaking to Adnkronos Salute. “Only a limited quantity of fat is needed, so a small amount of fat cells can even be removed from very thin individuals. We have observed in vitro studies in which these stem cells show to be very promising in aiding the heart in regenerative processes, mainly when paired with a sort of chemical cocktail to help them differentiate in the proper way.

For this reason we have created a cell factory to cultivate mesenchymal cells from fat and amniotic fluid, and we are developing molecules that allow ‘baby cells’ to differentiate where they are needed.” Following positive results in rats and pigs, “we believe that by the end of next year we will begin human testing,” said Ventura. There are many interesting prospects because we have observed that stem cells act “like a sort of molecular biochemistry mini-laboratory able to understand what is not working and then pushes the tissue to regenerate itself. This is the future,” he concluded.