Researchers at UCLA say they’ve moved a step closer to a new method of growing bones from fat tissue that may one day eliminate the need for painful bone grafts.
It’s well known that fat tissue contains a certain kind of cell that can develop into bone, muscles and other tissue. But until now, isolating those cells involved the complex and time-consuming process of growing cells in laboratories.
UCLA researchers have now created bone from purified stem cells extracted from fat tissue.
Scientists were able to isolate and purify what they call a “fresh cell population,” which doesn’t need to undergo the cell-culture process.
When used in animal models, this new process formed higher-quality bone and in much less time than existing methods. It also doesn’t require the painful and invasive procedures involved in traditional bone grafts, which are typically used to repair diseased bones and bone loss from some types of breaks and cancer.
Researchers say that because these particular cells are so plentiful in fat tissue, this process could work even with patients who don’t have much excess body fat.