Stem Cells Effective in Breast Reconstruction?

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have found that stem cells derived from fat are safe to use in breast reconstruction. However, this will only work if the patient has no active cancer cells.

For the study, reports that the researchers isolated ADSC (adipose, or fat, tissue) from normal fat “and mixed them with human breast cancer cells obtained directly from patients.”

What did they find? Health News Digest reports on the results: “After two weeks in culture they found that ADSC greatly encouraged the growth of tumor cells. In a followup experiment, the researchers injected small numbers of highly purified active or resting tumor cells under the skin of mice either with ADSC or with previously irradiated tumor cells. The combination of active tumor cells and ADSC led to dramatic tumor growth, while injections of resting tumor cells were not affected by co-injection of either ADSC or irradiated tumor cells.”

“There is already some clinical evidence that breast reconstruction with transplanted fat is safe. Our findings lead us to conclude that augmentation of fat grafts with additional ADSC should be postponed until there is no evidence of active cancer. Our data in the mouse suggest that dormant cancer cells are not sensitive to the growth signals sent by the ADSC,” says lead author Dr. Vera S. Donnenberg about their findings.

Co-authors of the paper include Ludovic Zimmerlin, PhD, Per Basse, MD. Ph D and Rodney J. landraneau, M.D. all from the University of Pittsburgh. The study was funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, the Hillman Foundation, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, the Glimmer of Hope Foundation and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

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