Adipose (fat) tissue has significant advantages as a cell source for tissue engineering products. It is usually found in abundant quantities and can be harvested from the patient's body via a minimally invasive procedure.
Human adipose tissue-derived cells (HATDCs) can modify to form various types of mature cells along multiple cell lineage pathways, and can be safely and effectively transplanted back into the patient.
- HATDCs represent a heterogeneous population of cells, containing mesenchymal progenitors which can differentiate into adipocytes (fat cells), chondrocytes (cartilage cells), osteoblasts (bone cells) and myoblasts (muscle cells) both in vitro (outside the human body) and in vivo (inside the human body). The cell mixture also contains endothelial cells, which play a critical role in tissue vascularization (formation of blood vessels).
- HATDCs delivered into an injured or diseased tissue secrete growth factors that enhance recovery and can stimulate the recruitment of the host's endogenous stem cells to the injured site, promoting their differentiation along the required lineage pathway.
- When employed to generate autologous (self) grafts, HATDCs provide the advantages of safety, availability and multiple differentiation potential, rendering them a very promising cell source for tissue regeneration, particularly for the repair of skeletal defects. The autologus nature of these cells enables the development of personalized solutions for tissue engineered products.