One of the great medical breakthroughs of modern medicine is the use of adult stem cells, derived most easily from fat. Stem cell treatments are a type of intervention strategy that introduces new cells into damaged tissue in order to treat disease or injury. These cells take on the characteristics of tissue they are introduced to, and therefore begin to repair the tissue by replacing damaged cells. Recent breakthroughs include repair to skin, muscle and cartilage, with nerve tissue next.
Up until recently the media has largely focused on the more controversial embryonic stem cells. These are stem cells derived from embryos. The potential uses of these cells to cure and treat diseases remain vast, but the controversial source of the cells poses ethical questions that have delayed medical progress.
During the past decade, researchers have discovered that stem cells can also be extracted from your own fat tissue. These ‘adipose-derived’ adult stem cells have the same potential as embryonic stem cells, except for the ability to differentiate into sperm or ova. Unlike embryonic stem cells, stem cells extracted from your own fat are abundant, easily available, and pose no ethical or political controversy.