Why Your Fat Could Be Valuable for Stem Cell Research
In a New Technique, Scientists Have Turned Fat Cells into Stem Cells.
From newfangled exercise regimens to the latest fad diet, it seems the average American is always trying to lose a few pounds. But maybe we should cherish our fat cells a little bit more—after all, it may soon be possible to turn them into stem cells, according to a study to be published soon in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In the best-ever use for beer bellies, scientists used fat extracted from middle-aged midriffs to test a new method to convert fat cells into induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells. Not only did fat cells fully convert to stem cells six to eight weeks sooner than skin cells, but they were a whopping 20 times more efficient at making the transition than skin cells, according to Nature News. That makes iPS cells more readily available for the many types of research currently being conducted using the cells.
Seems like fat might become America’s greatest, er, natural resource. And there probably will be no shortage of donations.
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