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Fat cells into Cartilage

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Fat cells into Cartilage

Post by Canuck Singh on Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:31 am

Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have utilized growth factors to transform human fat cells into cartilage cells—research that could be a revelation to millions of people with joint pain.

Growth factors play crucial roles in the differentiation of cells and formation of new tissue. Growth factors are now becoming crucial to the bioengineering of tissue for clinical use in humans. In this study, the Duke team isolated the specialized cells, known as human adipose-derived adult stem cells (hADAS) obtained from body fat during liposuction procedures. The researchers then exposed these fat cells to a cocktail of various growth factors in order to stimulate their transformation into cartilage cells. This research suggests that mixing hADAS cells with certain growth factors could provide tissue that could be used to repair damaged cartilage.

Cartilage is the tissue that provides the cushioning and lubrication of our joints. When cartilage tears it does not heal. Millions of people suffer from arthritis which is the deterioration of cartilage tissue in joints. Therefore, this research has enormous potential benefits for a lot of people. However, if we can develop the technology to be able to turn one type of human cell into another, some potentially exciting and controversial times lay a head in the near future.

Source: The Journal Arthritis and Rheumatism April, 2006.
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