Washington: Scientists have developed a fast, efficient way to turn cells extracted from routine liposuction into liver cells.
The scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine performed their experiments in mice, but the adipose stem cells they used came from human liposuction aspirates and became human, liver-like cells that flourished inside the mice's bodies.
All aspects of the new fat-to-liver technique are adaptable for human use, Gary Peltz, MD, PhD, professor of anesthesia and the study's senior author said. Creating iPS cells requires introducing foreign and potentially carcinogenic genes. But adipose stem cells merely have to be harvested from fat tissue.
The process takes nine days from start to finish- fast enough to regenerate liver tissue in acute liver poisoning victims, who would otherwise die within a few weeks, barring liver transplantation.
Peltz said that they believe their method will be transferable to the clinic, and because the new liver tissue is derived from a person's own cells, they do not expect that immunosuppressants will be needed.
Liver cells are not something an adipose stem cell normally wants to turn into, Peltz said.
Peltz and his associates were able to achieve the conversion within nine days with an efficiency of 37 percent, as opposed to the vastly lower yield obtained with the prior method (12 percent) or using iPS cells.
The study is published in journal Cell Transplantation.