Scientists are currently studying whether the fat removed during liposuction procedures could treat wounds or rebuild damaged tissue, according to Express.co.UK.
According to the University of Brighton and the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation (BMRF), biomaterial sponges filled with the removed fat could repair and regenerate structures like blood vessels damaged by burns and other trauma.
Based at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, West Sussex, the foundation pioneers research into wound healing and reconstructive surgery. Preliminary research displays that fat cells or adipose derived stem cells (ADSCs) can be turned into other cell types to help rebuild lost tissue, a university spokeswoman told Express.co.UK.
University researchers are hopeful that the fat can eventually be used to fill deep or extensive wounds, recover blood flow and promote peripheral nerve repair and sensation.
“We are interested to see if we can use them to help rebuild lost tissue and hopefully to start creating new blood vessels,” Professor Tony Metcalfe, who specializes in burns and wound healing research at the university, told Express.co.UK.“But ADSCs can equally be turned into many other cell types dependent upon how and what you grow them in. We are excited by the prospects. Deep wounds currently are difficult to treat and to fill and create the original shape of the area wounded. Patients often never regain a proper blood supply or nerve sensation after skin grafts and other treatments.”
Metcalfe directs research at BMRF, where late surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe pioneered treatments for Second World War burns victims.
“We are investigating using the fat from liposuction procedures, which is donated with the consent of patients, to reconstitute material sponges that eventually can be used to fill soft tissue defects where the wound is quite deep or extensive,” Metcalfe told Express.co.UK.
“Procedures for treating deep flesh and skin wounds currently are limited and while this new research is still in its infancy, it does hold the prospect of development of much more beneficial treatments by ‘recycling,’ if you like, fat that at the moment has no use and is disposed of.”
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