Stem cells that are stored in your fat (adipose) tissue are known as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), or medicinal signalling cells. These target areas in the joint that are causing pain or dysfunction, helping them to regenerate and repair themselves. By re-introducing your own pericyte cells, which have been separated from your fat cells during the Lipogems® process, blood flow is increased and inflammation is reduced. In this way, your body has helped to heal itself.
MSCs are also available from other sources – for example bone marrow, dental pulp, fetal membrane, and placenta. However, the attention of researchers is increasingly focused on MSCs derived from human (and animal) adipose (fat) tissue because of their abundance and ease of access . Furthermore, the regenerative potential of adipose tissue-derived MSCs is similar to that reported in other tissues .
Bone marrow harvesting of MSCs is an invasive and traumatic procedure compared with harvesting from fat tissue (using a technique known as lipoaspiration) . Bone marrow also needs to be taken using a general anaesthetic – this means a higher risk of viral infection . Bone marrow-derived MSCs also decrease in number with increasing age ; for older patients, this may mean MSCs need to be taken from a young donor . Although other sources, such as dental pulp, umbilical cord matrix (Wharton jelly), and menstrual blood have been considered, isolating the MSCs and the additional steps involved before they are ready to be used, are both time consuming and require careful laboratory manipulation [3-5].
What makes Lipogems® technology so innovative?
Lipogems® has been used in more than 7000 patients worldwide. It was patented in 2010 and has been clinically available since 2013 . It is an easy-to-use system designed to harvest, process, and implant adipose cells. Unlike other procedures, the Lipogems® process allows these to be ready to use quickly, meaning that the whole procedure is completed during a single short outpatient visit to a clinic.
The Lipogems® procedure uses cutting-edge technology that gently processes your body’s own fat tissue in order, amongst other things, to cushion and support areas of injury or damage as your body heals itself. Lipogems® is injected precisely into areas of the body in order to help establish an environment that helps tissue healing and repair. Lipogems® tends to stay in the area where it is injected instead of being reabsorbed, allowing your body to maximise the benefits of Lipogems® for an extended period of time. As part of this overall process, Lipogems® provides cushioning and structural support to your body’s tissues wherever it is injected.
Interview with Professor Carlo Tremolada
The following interview, between Professor Adrian Wilson and Professor Carlo Tremolada explores both the origins of Lipogems treatments and its applications. During the interview we hear from the inventor of this innovative approach, and why Adipose tissue possesses such powerful healing properties.
Interview with Mr. Konrad Slynarski – Warsaw Joint Preservation Congress 2017
What are pericytes?
Pericytes are a type of cell that can be found throughout the human body. These cells can exist in many different forms and that is why they are so powerful in their ability to heal tissue.
When scientists started looking at pericytes in detail, they initially thought that their main function was to support and regulate the function of blood vessels. Pericyte cells were shown to develop a unique shape whereby their “arms” wrap around the smallest blood vessels in the body and help control how much blood can flow through. The pericyte does this by contracting and expanding its grip of the micro-vessel depending on how much blood is needed.
As well as this essential function, the multi-limbed cell gives structure and strength to the tiny blood vessels that they control.
Scientific developments have allowed us an even greater understanding of how these special cells function. By isolating pericytes using molecular technology, and then growing them using tissue cultures, the true hidden potential of these cells has been revealed.
Pericytes have been shown to have the ability to turn into many other different cell types, the scientific term for which is “differentiation”. This ability of a cell to grow into other tissue-specific cells is most commonly known as a “stem cell”. This is a unique and incredible property and is the key to tissue growth, maintenance and repair.
Pericytes have the ability to differentiate into several different cell types including osteoblasts (bone building cells), chondrocytes (cartilage cells), adipocytes (fat storage cells), fibroblasts (structural cells) and smooth muscle cells (elastic contractile cells).
There are several mechanisms that are thought to be involved in allowing the pericyte to behave like a stem cell and transform itself into other cell types. Depending on what environment the pericyte is cultivated in, the cell reacts by expressing the genes contained within its DNA to help it transform into the same cells it is surrounded by. For example, pericytes cultured within chondrogenic (bone) medium start to differentiate into all aspects of healthy bone tissue, whereas pericytes cultured in adipogenic (fat) medium, differentiate into fat cells.
1. Tremolda C, Colombo V, Ventura C. Adipose Tissue and Mesenchymal Stem Cells: State of the Art and Lipogems® Technology Development. Current Stem Cell Reports. September 2016, Volume 2 Issue 3, pp 304–312. Available online at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40778-016-0053-5. Accessed 26th April 2017
2. Stolzing A, Jones E, McGonegle D, et al. Age-related changes in human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells: consequences for cell therapies. Mech Ageing Dev. 2008;129(3):163–73
3. Vangsness Jr CT, Sternberg H, Harris L. Umbilical cord tissue offers the greatest number of harvestable mesenchymal stem cells for research and clinical application: a literature review of different harvest sites. Arthroscopy. 2015;31(9):1836–43
4. Ren H, Sang Y, Zhang F, Liu Z, Qi N, Chen Y. Comparative analysis of human mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cord, dental pulp, and menstrual blood as sources for cell therapy. Stem Cells Int. 2016;2016:13. Available online at: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/sci/2016/3516574/. Accessed 26th April 2017.
5. Jeon YJ, Kim J, Cho JH, Chung HM, Chae JI. Comparative analysis of human mesenchymal stem cells derived from bone marrow, placenta, and adipose tissue as sources of cell therapy. J Cell Biochem. 2016;117(5):1112–25