Researchers have found that the fat removed from the body during a liposuction procedure may someday be useful in treating diabetes, Alzheimer’s and many other conditions.
According to NBC News, a research team at UCLA has discovered embryonic stem cells within liposuctioned fat. This represents a tremendous breakthrough, as these cells were previously only thought to be obtainable through controversial methods. These cells may eventually be used to treat a wide range of diseases, which research is just beginning to understand.
Using Liposuction to Treat a Wide Range of Conditions
In the words of Dr. John Joseph, one of the UCLA researchers, â??You can, in the future, make that cell into any tissue in your body, at least thatâ??s the potential. They literally should be able to grow kidney â?? any part of your body â?? because itâ??s embryonic.â? This technology is still in its infancy, and the expectations for the future are tremendous. Men and women may someday be able to have genetically personalized treatments that are based on their own stem cells.
While the uses for these stem cells are still being developed, many people are choosing to freeze the extracted stem cells now, counting on future developments to unlock their potential. Current cryogenic freezing technology allows stem cells to be frozen for 20-30 years, though they may be viable far longer than that, as the technology has not been around long enough to know its limits.
This development adds an interesting dimension to the liposuction procedure, which was already the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the world. Its popularity is due to a number of factors, including low cost, minimal invasiveness and extraordinary flexibility. It is often performed with other procedures, including tummy tucks, arm lifts, thigh lifts and other body contouring procedures. Now those interested in eliminating excess fat now may be able to help protect themselves from diseases in the future.
Photo by CIMMYT on Flickr.
Dr. Jonov is a cosmetic surgeon who specializes in plastic surgeries of the face, breast, and body at Seattle Plastic Surgery.