An Italian laboratory headed by Dr. Raposio at the University of Parma has designed a simple and fast technique for preparing fat-based stem cells for use in the clinic.
Fat contains an alternative source of mesenchymal stem cells with characteristics similar to those found in bone marrow, but the fat-based stem cells are easier to isolate and have been shown to be effective enhancers of wound healing.
Raposio and his colleagues used fat contributed by liposuction patients. Each patient provided about 80 cubic centimeters of fat in liposuction procedures that were collected under anesthesia. Once the cells from this fat were isolated, they were mixed with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) that had been previously collected. Mixing PRP with stem cells enhances the capabilities of the fat-based stem cells and generates a concoction called “e-PRP.” This simple procedure that consisted of fat collection, stem cell collection and mixing the cells with PRP to make e-PRP quickly made a produce that was ready for grafting onto wounds on the skin.
Detailed analyses of the cells isolated from the fat showed that they consisted of about 50,000 fat-based mesenchymal stem cells or ASCs. They represented about 5% of all cells in the sample. The remaining cells were blood-derived cell and blood vessel-making endothelial cells.
The significance of this procedure lies in the fact that most of the protocols used to isolate stem cells from fat take about two hours and require animal-derived reagents. However, the number of ASCs isolated with this new procedure is sufficient for application to wounds without the need of expanding the cells in culture. Also, this new procedure does not require serum or animal-derived reagents, and it takes only 15 minutes.
Thus this method of ASC isolation is innovative, feasible, and represents an advance in the stem cell-based treatment of chronic wounds.