Stem cells are biological cells found in all multi-cellular organisms. These cells divide through mitosis and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types, including heart, liver, nerve and bone.
There are two broad types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells, which are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, and adult stem cells, which are found in various tissues. In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing tissues.
When extracted, these cells can be used in medical therapies – such as in bone marrow transplants. There are three accessible sources of autologous (own) adult stem cells in humans: harvested from bone marrow, draw from blood using pheresis, and interesting from adipose tissue (lipids) which requires being extracted via liposuction.
Embryonic stem cells have what is considered better potential for generating viable tissues but their use is highly controversial.
However, researchers, according to Scientific American and a study published in PLOS ONE, believe they’ve found a stem cell with the same potent capability as embryonic counterparts used to repair diseased and damaged tissue – one from an abundant adult source, body fat.
“Awakened by Cellular Stress: Isolation and Characterization of a Novel Population of Pluripotent Stem Cells Derived from Human Adipose Tissue,” shares how the lipid stem cells were discovered accidentally as researchers were attempting to grow cells from material collected via liposuction.
Cells in their samples died after lab equipment failure – all but a few hearty stem cells capable of withstanding various harsh conditions such as being deprived of oxygen and nutrients or saturated in digestive enzymes.
Contrastingly to other cell types, stress may even positively activate these cells. Conveniently stress is also in abundance these days. However, more research will be necessary to evaluate the overall effectiveness and application.