September 26, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Providing key context for my quote in WSJ on fat stem cell clinics

SVF SVF stromal vascular fractionJournalist Melinda Beck has a new piece on fat stem cell clinics in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) today that includes one very brief quote from me that I believe effectively ends up being an unintentional misquote because of a lack of context. Here in this blog piece I want to provide that important missing context.

Melinda and I talked quite a lot about stem cells on the phone and I worked hard in that discussion to provide a great deal of depth as I always do with journalists. Unfortunately, only one snippet ended up in the WSJ article:

“Fat stem cells come from fat, which has almost no role beyond cushioning,”

Of course fat as a tissue has major metabolic functions as well as serving structural and cushioning roles. I thought we talked about that, but perhaps not.

My main point that I articulated on the phone was that there are exceedingly few truly homologous uses of fat stem cells (also called stromal vascular fraction or SVF).

How many diseases or conditions can you think of that involve fat? Especially if one goes outside the cosmetic realm there are very few medical uses of fat stem cells that will be homologous. Non-homologous use means that fat stem cells must receive pre-market approval from the FDA and the stem cell clinics generally do not have that.

I hope this clears things up. Otherwise I found the WSJ piece valuable and adds new information to the discussion.

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