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Stem Cells From Fat Create Beating Heart Cells

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the for-the-love-of-god-montressor dept.

Medicine 198

Amenacier writes "Melbourne scientists recently discovered that stem cells isolated from human fat could be made to turn into beating heart muscle cells when cultured with rat heart cells. This discovery may lead to the use of fat stem cells in repairing cardiac damage, or fixing such cardiac problems as holes in the heart. It is proposed that culturing the stem cells with rat heart cells allows them to differentiate into heart muscle through signals from the rat cells. In the future it may be possible to inject/transplant the stem cells into the damaged area and have them naturally differentiate into the type of cell required, with only the natural stimuli provided by surrounding cells, without any danger of rejection by the body. Quoting: 'The next step is to implant the human heart cells onto the damaged heart of a laboratory rat to see whether they repair the heart. Then they would be trialled in higher species such as sheep and pigs before human applications could be considered. Clinical application could be five years away ...'" The Age has a multimedia treatment (Flash) of the discovery.

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Rat hearted overlords? (5, Funny)

rubies (962985) | about 6 years ago | (#25464639)

Nah. We've already got those.

Re:Rat hearted overlords? (5, Funny)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | about 6 years ago | (#25464701)

I ask that all rat lovers mod parent down for such an insult to rats everywhere.

Re:Rat hearted overlords? (5, Interesting)

gnick (1211984) | about 6 years ago | (#25464869)

I ask that all rat lovers mod parent down for such an insult to rats everywhere.

Pretty much off-topic, so I've foregone my karmic bonus. Mods, please be gentle.

Rats rock. Best pets I've had. They're clean, loyal, friendly, and low upkeep. Terrific. They've even potty-trainable with less that 1-month of effort - I used to let mine run loose and kept ramps up so that they could return to their cages to crap.
-----
On-topic... If we can generate stem-cells applicable to human research trans-specially, who other than PETA would continue to object?

Re:Rat hearted overlords? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25465223)

Yeah, but you can't potty train them for #1. They piddle everywhere they walk. *shrug* You get desensitized after awhile.

Re:Rat hearted overlords? (2, Insightful)

dougisfunny (1200171) | about 6 years ago | (#25465977)

On-topic... If we can generate stem-cells applicable to human research trans-specially, who other than PETA would continue to object?

People afraid of cloning

Re:Rat hearted overlords? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25467133)

P eople
E ating
T asty
A nimals

Re:Rat hearted overlords? (1)

Psiren (6145) | about 6 years ago | (#25466329)

What the hell is a "loyal" rat? Come to that, why the hell do I want to know?!

Re:Rat hearted overlords? (4, Insightful)

pz (113803) | about 6 years ago | (#25466513)

On-topic... If we can generate stem-cells applicable to human research trans-specially, who other than PETA would continue to object?

The goal of the field is to use stem cells derived from the person being treated. The idea is it would run something like this: take a few vials of blood or a bit of adipose tissue (subcutaneous fat), send them to the lab to be turned into stem cells or precursor heart / kidney / pancreas / brain cells, inject into or near the appropriate tissue (maybe just give as a transfusion), and things will Just Work.

The only -- ONLY -- reason people are in an uproar about this sort of work is because fetal stem cells are being used by many researchers in the field, and obtaining fetal tissue is politically charged. (There's good scientific reasons to use fetal stem cells that have to do with host rejection.) Once we can take adult cells and turn them back into pluripotent stem cells (fixing the telomeres along the way, even), or barring that can get the equivalent naive stem cells from placenta or umbilical cord tissue, we won't require fetal tissue any more and the whole issue will fade quietly as it should.

Unfortunately, I'm on vacation, so don't have my references handy, but there are lots and lots and lots of people working on creating stem cells from adults, and there has been remarkable progress.

So, this is a long-winded way of saying that I doubt anyone in research team from the article is considering the application for their work to be to use xenograft stem cells (from a different species), but to instead use human fat cells to create new heart tissue.

Re:Rat hearted overlords? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | about 6 years ago | (#25466685)

I was under the impression that there already were a couple of treatments in use that used Adult Stem Cells. The advantage of Embryonic Stem Cells is that they are more changeable then the adult Stem Cells.

Re:Rat hearted overlords? (1)

bornyesterday (888994) | about 6 years ago | (#25466777)

On-topic... If we can generate stem-cells applicable to human research trans-specially, who other than PETA would continue to object?

there are plenty of people out there who believe in the sanctity and purity of the human body. so they'd protest on those grounds. and PETA probably wouldn't have a problem with the treatment because from what it sounds like, the stem cells would be applied to the human heart along with human heart muscle cells. no rats or other animals involved. other than in the experiments that created the treatment

Re:Rat hearted overlords? (4, Insightful)

nutrock69 (446385) | about 6 years ago | (#25467353)

there are plenty of people out there who believe in the sanctity and purity of the human body. so they'd protest on those grounds.

So those people will eventually die off because they're unwilling to receive the help they'll need, while those of us that would be happy to use a lab-grown replacement heart/kidney/left-leg with no possible chance of tissue rejection would continue the human race...

Sounds like a win-win to me...

frosty piss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25464641)

frosty piss: you nerds love it

Re:frosty piss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25464735)

Yep its always great to piss in a glass and sell it to douchebags like you. It's pretty much one hundred percent profit.

Re:frosty piss (4, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#25464793)

Pabst Brewing co., is that you?

Re:frosty piss (4, Insightful)

jeremiahbell (522050) | about 6 years ago | (#25464857)

Hey, I tried Pabst Blue Ribbon for the first time the other day, and it wasn't too bad. Everybody always talking about how bad it is, but they should just give it a try.

Beer, and this includes your favorite beer, is something you grow to like. In reality beer is nasty shit and we all know it. We just learn to tolerate a certain flavor, and we like to stick to what we learned to tolerate. Many may deny it, but in reality all we really want is the alcohol, or one to have the taste to remind us of the alcohol.

Yep, I just said that a beer didn't taste bad, and then went on to say that all beer tastes bad.

Re:frosty piss (2, Funny)

moosesocks (264553) | about 6 years ago | (#25465763)

Yep, I just said that a beer didn't taste bad, and then went on to say that all beer tastes bad.

Ah. I guess that means you're drunk :-P

Re:frosty piss (1)

RulerOf (975607) | about 6 years ago | (#25466855)

Yep, I just said that a beer didn't taste bad, and then went on to say that all beer tastes bad.

For the majority of commonly available beers, I tend to agree with you. As the troll pointed out, many commonly available beers range from "frosty piss" to "bitter, frosty piss," and as such, only lend credence to your point of view.

I do challenge you, however, to try beers available from local breweries. Beers like Budweiser and PBR are brewed for price and consistency. Independent breweries brew for taste.

If you're in the Great Lakes region, anything available from the Great Lakes Brewery, especially their seasonal brews, can be very good. Nosferatu, out for Halloween, is particularly good.

Re:frosty piss (1)

spvo (955716) | about 6 years ago | (#25467343)

If all you want to do is get the effects of alcohol without tasting the drink then why the hell would you drink beer? Drink liquor or some sort of mixed drink that will get you drunk without the burden of flavor.

I would bet most people, although certainly not all, drink beer because they do like the way it tastes. And, amazingly enough, some of us actually like to try a variety of beers because we don't want to taste the same one every time.

Better hope (-1, Troll)

woot account (886113) | about 6 years ago | (#25464647)

That McCain/Palin don't get elected if you want this kind of research to continue.

Re:Better hope (5, Informative)

acris (1366907) | about 6 years ago | (#25464807)

That McCain/Palin don't get elected if you want this kind of research to continue.

no matter who gets elected in the USA, future research won't be effected by this. Unless said president decides to attack Australia. Please do more research next time before making off-hand comments about politics.

Re:Better hope (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25465233)

When "research" includes such things as "discovering that other nations exist," we are well and truly fucked.

Re:Better hope (5, Informative)

MPolo (129811) | about 6 years ago | (#25465519)

Even more so, since this is not embryonic stem-cell research (to which McCain, Palin, and many other Christians object), but rather adult stem-cell research (to which only Jehovah's Witnesses and Christian Scientists object, as far as I know).

Personally, I have yet to read of truly successful research with embryonic stem cells (because they are generally rejected by the recipient), whereas many large advances have been made with adult stem cells (since the donor and the recipient are the same person, rejection is eliminated) -- for men at least, pluripotent cells have been found in the testicles, so that any type of cell could be produced without having to use embryonic stem cells. I also recently saw a report about a person with congenital heart disease who was apparently cured by an injection of his own bone-marrow stem cells.

So I suppose my question would be why the intellectual elites want to spend their research monies on embryonic stem-cell research that is more expensive, less successful, and morally questionable to a large sector of society, rather than on research in areas where successes keep coming, the cells are available without moral complications, and the costs are in general lower. A cynical person might think that it's all about getting drug patents and getting money out of the consumers and padding their own checkbooks...

Re:Better hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25465739)

Unless said president decides to attack Australia.

I think this is what the post was referring to. Australia does have some small oil reserves after all!

Re:Better hope (1)

DavidM01 (1123199) | about 6 years ago | (#25467587)

We have a lot more oil here than they do down under, I hate to tell you. We have more in oil shale than in all of Saudi Arabia. Not to mention only about 15% of our oil comes from the mideast.... Please stop the "war for oil" nonsense/idiocy.

Re:Better hope (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25466089)

Didn't you hear? Palin glimpsed a postcard from Sydney and now knows the exact coordinates of your evil fat muslim terrorist cloning lair.

Untrue and ignorant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25464883)

Well, you've just proven yourself uneducated on this topic.

The lack of government funding (not an outright ban) was on stem cells harvested from fetuses.

1) So, these fat stem cells aren't in that fetus stem cell funding ban.
2) The private sector can do what the damn well please. Fat stem cells or fetus stem cells.

But you keep living the lie.

Re:Untrue and ignorant (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | about 6 years ago | (#25465993)

I thought it was closer to "organizations doing embryonic stem cell research cannot receive federal funding at all" as opposed to receiving federal funding for that project. I'm not certain on that, but if that was the case, it is effectively a ban, as no academic or research institution is going to give up all access to grant money over one line of research, and ditto for most private ventures, exacerbated by private venture disliking research that doesn't have a clear and obvious product that is likely to be approved and unlikely to cause them much grief involved.

Re:Better hope (1, Redundant)

bonch (38532) | about 6 years ago | (#25465169)

Conservatives oppose embryonic stem cell research, not adult stem cell research.

Re:Better hope (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25465199)

When we learn how to create any cell out of any other cell, from any species of animal, the Christian (sic) Right (sic) will most certainly have something to say about it. They don't like it when science replaces the need for their magic sky fairy.

Re:Better hope (3, Informative)

bonch (38532) | about 6 years ago | (#25465399)

Well, I wouldn't know what Christians are saying. As far as I can tell, they're not saying anything about adult stem cells. They were opposed to embryonic stem cells because of how they were harvested, and it wasn't just Christians who were opposed.

By the way, mocking Christianity on Slashdot for easy upmods is too easy.

Re:Better hope (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25465441)

Just think, people like you are voting Obama the Christian and Biden the Catholic into office. Whoopee! We'll have an administration that thinks America invented AIDS and demons are running around influencing world events.

Re:Better hope (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#25467723)

Why is that?
This isn't embryonic stem cell research at all.
Nobody has any problems with this research.
So
1. You don't know what your talking about.
or
2. You are using lies and fear to support your political viewpoint.

That's great! (-1, Offtopic)

Hojima (1228978) | about 6 years ago | (#25464653)

But the real question is, when do I get my set of super long prehensile boners?

Re:That's great! (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#25464889)

Melbourne scientists recently discovered that stem cells isolated from human fat could be made to turn into beating heart muscle cells when cultured with rat heart cells

Making the joke "hung like a mouse" a little more true to life.

Re:That's great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25464983)

I'm hung like an infant: 10 pounds, 18 inches.

Anonymous Coward (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25464661)

Fat people will save the world...

Does McDonalds have a stake in this? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25464683)

Why am I having visions of average Joes being fatted up for their stem cells... wait, but... those darn fast food companies may be on to something!

(captcha: exporter ["We will be exporting fat stem cells from obese Americans!"])

Re:Does McDonalds have a stake in this? (2, Insightful)

theaveng (1243528) | about 6 years ago | (#25465937)

Yep. We Americans have been looking for a new invention to sell the world. Well, it's fat. We have the biggest supply of fat of any country. Start-up the liposuction machines, and start exporting those fat-to-heart organ replacements.

Re:Does McDonalds have a stake in this? (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | about 6 years ago | (#25466841)

I was just thinking the same.

Six months ago, fat was bad for your heart. Now it turns out it can (with a little engineering) repair a damaged one.

Kinda like the flip-flops on red wine and chocolate.

I don't think these "experts" know what the heck they're talking about.....

its only fair (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 6 years ago | (#25464697)

my fat cells are killing my heart cells

might as well sacrifice a few of them to give back what they took

Re:its only fair (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#25464837)

They're stem cells from fat tissue though, not the fat cells themselves.

Maybe the problem is most of those stem cells are being convinced to change to fat cells instead of heart cells ;).

Seriously though, are fat and heart cells from the same "germ layer"? I'm too lazy to look it up.

Re:its only fair (3, Informative)

daniorerio (1070048) | about 6 years ago | (#25465313)

They're both derived from the mesoderm, so yes same germ layer.

Re:its only fair (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#25465391)

Thanks! But that's boring news then :).

Re:its only fair (1)

daniorerio (1070048) | about 6 years ago | (#25465431)

Well, not if you assume fat tissue derived stem cells are too differentiated to become anything else as fat tissue cells, like heart muscle cells ;)

Re:its only fair (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#25465653)

I don't.

Especially since:

http://www.newsday.com/news/health/wire/sns-ap-skull-stem-cells,0,5876836.story [newsday.com]

While the above is not proof and more anecdotal (but I'm sure everyone was happy that the skull finally healed for whatever reason), it is also claimed to have worked with rats before:

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn4873 [newscientist.com]

And also they've been coaxed into smooth muscle:

http://www.physorg.com/news72983041.html [physorg.com]

So, just another step, not a leap. Useful step no doubt :).

I think there are plenty of people doing research in this area. Good news for the people who have grown extensive reserves ;). 1 kg of fat stem cells needed? No problem for them.

Re:its only fair (3, Interesting)

nospam007 (722110) | about 6 years ago | (#25465897)

Soon there will be mobile liposuction centers every few blocks.

"Donate your fat, save lives!"

Not to mention "Drink beer, so you have fat to donate"

Oh the irony... (4, Funny)

gillbates (106458) | about 6 years ago | (#25464705)

That from the fat of the overweight American comes the cure for heart disease brought on by his poor diet!

With two thirds of Americans overweight, this is promising news.

Re:Oh the irony... (3, Funny)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#25464755)

That from the fat of the overweight American comes the cure for heart disease brought on by his poor diet!

With two thirds of Americans overweight, this is promising news.

for THEM..

what about thin people like me.. they'll live forever now and have more fat daughters >: |

Re:Oh the irony... (5, Funny)

Barny (103770) | about 6 years ago | (#25464779)

And we shall harvest them, oh yes the time of the great fat farm is at hand.

Soylent Green (1)

jeremiahbell (522050) | about 6 years ago | (#25464871)

See, Saul won't go to waste. Soylent Cells, the wave of the future.

Re:Soylent Green (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25465775)

Shit, it will be like the matrix but plausible :)

Re:Oh the irony... (0, Troll)

Joebert (946227) | about 6 years ago | (#25467213)

You've obviously never had a fat chick bent over the counter at Wendys after hours fucking her from behind so hard that nugget sauces are falling off the walls & the cash register starts ringing shit up on its' own, all the while hearing her moan like a wildebeast inbetween her feedbag-looking titties swinging up and slaping her in the mouth.

More cushin for the pushin !

Re:Oh the irony... (2, Insightful)

Joebert (946227) | about 6 years ago | (#25467261)

Shit I forgot to hit the AC button !

Re:Oh the irony... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 6 years ago | (#25465139)

I'm not fat or American, I'm an Aussie and I'm all heart.

Re:Oh the irony... (4, Funny)

denttford (579202) | about 6 years ago | (#25465667)

Meh.

I want my stem cells the right way, derived from the tortured souls of aborted cherubic foetuses. Enough to fill the dancefloor atop the head of a pin.

The immortality of one can not be achieved but by the suffering of many.
This is just dishonest.

Re:Oh the irony... (4, Funny)

cgenman (325138) | about 6 years ago | (#25465689)

I'm not vegging out on the couch. I'm building up my stem-cell reserves.

CmdrTaco? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25464827)

Be afraid?

I'm Rich! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 years ago | (#25464873)

I have enuf in my gut to be wealthier than Warren Buffet.

Tuesday is my Fat-Heart group... (5, Funny)

retech (1228598) | about 6 years ago | (#25464881)

So the plan was to get the entire world to bulk up [physorg.com] and then sell their fat back to them as a means to save them...

the first rule of stem cell research is you don't talk about stem cell research.

Adult stem cells vs. foetal stem cells (2, Informative)

Amenacier (1386995) | about 6 years ago | (#25464957)

The beauty of using adult stem cells is that they can be taken from and used on the same person without fear of rejection because they are already marked as "self" by the body...foetal stem cells may still cause problems because they have their own unique DNA.

Re:Tuesday is my Fat-Heart group... (2, Funny)

wdef (1050680) | about 6 years ago | (#25465709)

The first rule about fat club is you don't talk about fat club.

The easy way (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25464925)

I am sorry if I offend anyone here but... no wait I am not.

Why can't we just use the stem cells from fetuses, drop the friggin "soul"-discussion now, ok? Stem cells are probably the most promising research field in biology today, can't we just drop the fundamentalist christians from the whole thing? In the name of humanity? Please?

Re:The easy way (1)

cosmocain (1060326) | about 6 years ago | (#25464965)

Uhm, when did any religion ever step back from anything in favor of humanity?

Re:The easy way (2, Insightful)

tloh (451585) | about 6 years ago | (#25465527)

What do you mean? Step back as the opposite of step up to the plate?

here is a partial list of when they (have) work(ed) against progress
Christianity vs. Galileo & Copernicus
Fa Lung Gong vs. every frigging thing that is normal
Christian Science vs. modern medicine
Scientology vs. psychology
Islam (the fundamentalist variety) vs. gender equality and global harmony

But to be fair, religion *has* also stepped up to the plate on a few occasions. It is important to keep in mind that the concept of higher education and the modern collegiate system took shape within the catholic monasteries of the middle ages among the scribes whose efforts in propagating language and culture proved vital to later civil/social developments of the western world. And centuries before the crazy nut jobs took over Islam, it was Islamic scholars who preserved much of the writings of Plato, Aristotle and other treasures of Greek antiquity.

We play politics with this sort of thing a lot these days. But the actual stories behind the talking points are many shades of gray.

Re:The easy way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25466383)

What do you mean? Step back as the opposite of step up to the plate?

here is a partial list of when they (have) work(ed) against progress

Christianity vs. Galileo & Copernicus

Sorry, but the Catholic Church did not oppose Copernicus. In fact, they got on rather well.

And just for the record, the objection to Galileo was that he was teaching things as fact without adequate scientific evidence, as the instruments at the time were still not accurate enough.

Re:The easy way (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 6 years ago | (#25466963)

Christianity vs. Galileo & Copernicus

Oddly enough, Copernicus was a Catholic priest.

Also, I doubt seriously Galileo would have been sent to his house and told to stay there if he hadn't called the Pope (a personal friend of his) a fool in public.

Re:The easy way (2, Insightful)

Your Pal Dave (33229) | about 6 years ago | (#25464997)

One big advantage of using fat (or other adult) stem cells over fetal cells is that the cells could be harvested from the target patient, thus avoiding tissue rejection problems.

Re:The easy way (1)

Exanon (1277926) | about 6 years ago | (#25465275)

Uh? I thought the whole idea of stem cells was that they could be made into any other cell and since you use the dna of the receiver to grow the fetus, you have a perfect match?

Re:The easy way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25467393)

"dna of the receiver to grow the fetus"

So, only aborting pregnant women could get stem cell cures? No, you are incorrect, the idea of stem cells is that they can become any type of cell (muscle, nerve, liver, what-have-you), thus they can be used to repair any part of the body.

Fetal stem cells have unique DNA and thus such cures are subject to the current restrictions on organ transplants, the body could reject the foreign matter (just as it rejects the strep that makes your throat sore). If adult stem cells become viable, the advantage is that you are repairing yourself with more of 'you', thus you will not reject 'you'.

Re:The easy way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25465035)

Mod parent down: (Score: -1, Baby-eater)

Re:The easy way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25465267)

Mod parent up: (Score: +50, Baby-eater)

Re:The easy way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25466341)

Why can't we just use the stem cells from fetuses, drop the friggin "soul"-discussion now, ok?

Because it doesn't friggin work.

Stem cells are probably the most promising research field in biology today, can't we just drop the fundamentalist christians from the whole thing? In the name of humanity? Please?

Is that 'promising' in the same sense as a politician promises things?

Re:The easy way (3, Insightful)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | about 6 years ago | (#25466419)

I'm not really offended, but it comes down for when life starts. Both Biblically and humanistically, I believe that we MUST value unborn life as a society, and not subject it to the whims of "the greater good," which rarely turns out as such. We consider human testing on anything other than volunteers as inhumane. If I consider the unborn as human, what other position am I supposed to take?

Re:The easy way (1)

RulerOf (975607) | about 6 years ago | (#25467041)

Strictly speaking, unborn children lack the capacity to care whether or not they are born in the same sense that we do.

Further, also strictly speaking, children are extremely easy to make, placing (very mathematically speaking) very little value on whether they live or die.

People can and should hold investment in the welfare of their own children... but for God's sake, once those are secure, as evidenced by pornography, we've got plenty of gametes to spare.

Re:The easy way (1)

Harin_Teb (1005123) | about 6 years ago | (#25466809)

i would guess we can't do this because, oh i don't know, possibly because we live in a republic where the majority of people identify with Christianity?

It's pretty hard to say "oh well you're all just wrong so we'll ignore you" when the "you" is picking the people who make the laws every time. As such we need to work around it. /Full disclosure: I'm a pro-life Christian so if that adjusts what you think of this comment so be it.

Re:The easy way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25466883)

Sure, I'm all for it if you can define when life begins... Look, religion has little to do with this. There is obviously a living breathing baby at 9 months, 8 months, even 7 months. If you can give an objective definition of when life actually begins and where that fetus has the same rights as every other human being, then I won't support abortion.

Re:The easy way (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 6 years ago | (#25467147)

Autoimmune rejection, plain and simple. The proteins on a fetal stem cell may be rejected by the patient, whereas stem cells derived from their own fat are already histologically compatible.

Re:The easy way (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#25467835)

Well for one thing. Embryonic stem cell research really hasn't been very fruitful.
This is Adult stem cell research which frankly is exactly what where the anti embryonic stem cell people say most of the funding should have been going.

Second, Just a comment. Next time anyone you love or even care about has a miscarriage see what the emotional effect of them loosing the "baby" is. Would you tell them to just get over it because it wasn't a baby?
I am not what the Pro-Life people would consider pro-life but I can understand why the feel the way they do.

I also understand how some of the pro-choice people feel. Oh and I am not what the Pro-Choice people feel is pro-choice so I am pretty sure that I am right where I should be on this matter.

Not realistic (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25464973)

There's a lot of questions that have to be answered here - it's not as simple as they say it is. Adipose-derived stem cells are definitely nothing new - adult stem cells are widely studied and commonly used in bioengineering labs. The problem is that translating this into a clinically useful tool is far from reality, and there are a lot of fundamental issues that have to be resolved before something useful can be made:

  1. You have to isolate the stem cells from fat properly, which is not a simple task especially when you think about doing this en masse for many patients.
  2. Then you have to transform the cells, which is costly and takes time and never works completely.
  3. After you get the cells beating, they have to beat in rhythm with the electrical pulse from the heart.
  4. Then you have to ensure that they stay that way and don't require any additional growth factors or other biomolecules to keep their differentiation.
  5. You also need to anticipate possible immune responses, i.e. a host could reject its own cells.
  6. Then you have to consider the cost of growing these cells ex vivo and you probably have to do this in advance, especially if you want to use autologous cells (the patient's own cells), since it will take a lot of time and patience to grow the cell number to something substantial that can be injected.

In Australia things might happen faster, but for the US, getting this particular system running is full of regulatory issues and problems that aren't going to be easily addressed - 5 years is frankly impossible. I'd say 10 years, and that's AFTER they get all of the animal studies up and running. Ah, and it will cost tens of millions of dollars, if not hundreds of millions.

Re:Not realistic (2, Informative)

wdef (1050680) | about 6 years ago | (#25465759)

To respond to your issues: 1. Isolate a few, then culture the rest? 2. Tranformation appears here to be quite simple and spontaneous. The rat cells are doing the work. 3. Rhythm can be synchronized with an electric current. 4. Additional maintenance - speculation until we know more. 5. Wondering how a host rejects its own cells - unless an autoimmune disease has been triggered? They all have the same HLA complex, or am I out of date? 6. Time to culture cells - so what? Heart failure is a slow and costly way to die. Drugs have greatly extended life. There is time enough. Industrial processes and technology should be able to streamline the process. Regulatory and funding issues: you're forgetting how many fat arses sit on funding and ethics committees and are shit scared of dying from heart problems. In short, I think you are being prematurely negative. Wait until the data is in. Personally I'd be more concerned that, if it works, it'll be *suppressed*. After all, what are we going to do with all the old people that live to 120+ because death from heart failure has been eliminated?

Re:Not realistic (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 6 years ago | (#25466003)

Yes, yes. It wasn't realistic that we'd fly in airplanes either. It wasn't realistic that we'd be able to transplant organs. It wasn't realistic that we'd put men on the Moon.

Not one of the issues you list is insurmountable. You could say 'not ready' but 'not realistic' is just plain inaccurate.

5 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25465003)

Why 5 years? I am sure they got enough funding to shorten that to at least a few months, them lazy b...

i wish upon a day when (1)

kasmq1 (1275330) | about 6 years ago | (#25465031)

"This discovery may lead to the" will become "This discovery has lead to the"

Re:i wish upon a day when (3, Insightful)

MrMr (219533) | about 6 years ago | (#25465141)

Just stop reading press releases and start reading books.
The reason you see these preliminary results everywhere is that there is a constant need of more good news to attract investors and sponsors.

Re:i wish upon a day when (1)

kasmq1 (1275330) | about 6 years ago | (#25465189)

and/or having news of "possible" (not probable ) super implementations of technology infant discoveries attracts people and therefore money. Needles to say that all , and i mean all, the news seem to succomb some information about what fact they are preaching that will almost always turn the wheel in another direction. if you can turn a wheel in a direction that is. point of reference i mean.

Department (2, Insightful)

mrbobjoe (830606) | about 6 years ago | (#25465445)

from the for-the-love-of-god-montressor dept.

Eh? Was there a beating heart in The Cask of Amontillado? Maybe "the beating of his hideous heart" from The Tell-Tale Heart would have been more appropriate?

OMG: Someone's been watching.. (2, Informative)

maroberts (15852) | about 6 years ago | (#25465465)

Doctor Who [bbc.co.uk]

Re:OMG: Someone's been watching.. (1)

JayAitch (1277640) | about 6 years ago | (#25467107)

The fat just walks away.

Cancer (1)

Thundergod_Thor (1371339) | about 6 years ago | (#25465515)

Reprogramming normal tissue cells into other types usually involves inserting new genes randomly into the genome of these cells. This process is highly mutagenic. I wonder if this is the "mixture" they mentioned in the article is some kind of viroid to insert these genes. If this is the case the patients threated with this method my end up with cancer.

Re:Cancer (1)

wdef (1050680) | about 6 years ago | (#25465787)

No. Stem cells are pluripotential and can change into any cell type. That is why they are called stem cells. Once stem cells have forked into mature cells, they do not change again by themselves. "Reprogramming" as you call it would be taking mature cells and injecting genetic material via a virus or some other means, which indeed has risks. This is exactly why some cancers are caused by viruses.

Re:Cancer (1)

Thundergod_Thor (1371339) | about 6 years ago | (#25466013)

The Cells they are using are no real pluripotent stem cells like the ones from embryos but fat cells treated to behave like stem cells. In general differentiated cells do not revert to stem cells in vivo. You have to insert certain genes to induce this, but the result is not the same as a real stem cell.

Nobel Prize material (3, Insightful)

wdef (1050680) | about 6 years ago | (#25465703)

Clearly a humongous discovery. Should these cells be made to repair damaged heart muscle, it will revolutionize medicine. And without all the tedious hoo-hah about embryonic stem cells. Cardiac cells, like neurons, cannot be replaced by the body when damaged. This in fact is why many people die from heart failure years after surviving heart attacks. Heart attacks cut off the oxygen supply to cardiac cells, which die and can only be replaced by non-functional scar tissue, which is like the body's spakfiller. You lose enough cells, the heart cannot pump properly.

Re:Nobel Prize material (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 6 years ago | (#25466275)

And if they can grow new neurons it will be all for the better. If the heart and brain can be kept in good working order into old age, other tissues should be in better shape too.

Re:Nobel Prize material (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25466305)

Perhaps the Rat cells when injected could go forage for food by eating the fat cells
and crap out heart cells thus cleaning out the clogs in ones arteries. Oops! hopefully
not to much or else the crap/heart cells will block the artery.

reading sideway... (4, Funny)

Monkey-some (1178115) | about 6 years ago | (#25465953)

I did saw "stem cells extracted from human farts..." had to re-read it a second time wondering where the science could ever stop

And people were always (1)

meist3r (1061628) | about 6 years ago | (#25466401)

giving me a hard time for being big ... "You're killing yourself" ... No, I'm just well prepared.

Way to a man's heart... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25466465)

This is just a really roundabout way to prove that the way to man's heart is through his stomach.

Feed a man lots of fatty foods, he gets fat.
Turn those fat cells into stem cells.
Turn those stem cells into heart cells.
Done.

Come for the Liposuction... (1)

MrMonroe (1194387) | about 6 years ago | (#25467543)

Stay for the heart surgery?

We are forgetting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25467699)

.. who the primary to thank for this. If it wasn't for them, I highly doubt this research would have been possible. Can we give a big round of applause to McDonalds and Burger King!

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