Stem cells from fatty tissue show potential for bone repair

BRUSSELS - Belgian medical researchers have succeeded in repairing bones using stem cells from fatty tissue, with a new technique they believe could become a benchmark for treating a range of bone disorders.

The team at the Saint Luc university clinic hospital in Brussels have treated 11 patients, eight of them children, with fractures or bone defects that their bodies could not repair, and a spin-off is seeking investors to commercialise the discovery.

Doctors have for years harvested stem cells from bone marrow at the top of the pelvis and injected them back into the body to repair bone.

The ground-breaking technique of Saint Luc's centre for tissue and cellular therapy is to remove a sugar cube sized piece of fatty tissue from the patient, a less invasive process than pushing a needle into the pelvis and with a stem cell concentration they say is some 500 times higher.

The stem cells are then isolated and used to grow bone in the laboratory. Unlike some technologies, they are also not attached to a solid and separate 'scaffold'.

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Stem cells from fatty tissue show potential for bone repair

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