Find­ing a healthy use for fat

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

Close your eyes and imag­ine a world where you could re­ceive a li­po­suc­tion, mag­i­cally ex­tract spe­cific cells from the tum­bler of ex­cess fat and then in­ject them into your heart tis­sue to re­pair the mus­cle dam­age that causes your coro­nary artery dis­ease. Now open your eyes: Wel­come to that world. Well, al­most. A com­pany in San Diego called Cy­tori Ther­a­peu­tics has de­vel­oped the tech­nol­ogy and clin­i­cal tech­niques far enough that the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion has ap­proved a national trial for the pro­ce­dure. The com­pany is look­ing for 45 pa­tients at five hos­pi­tal sites around the coun­try to take part in a ran­dom­ized, dou­ble-blind placebo-con­trolled study code-named Athena.

One of the five sites al­ready an­nounced is Scripps Green Hos­pi­tal, whose cam­pus is just up the street from Cy­tori’s head­quar­ters. The com­pany told in­vestors re­cently that it ex­pects to re­port ini­tial re­sults in 2014.

The de­tails of the pro­ce­dure are of course pretty tech­ni­cal, but in gen­eral, Cy­tori hopes to use its de­vice—known as the Ce­lu­tion Sys­tem—to har­vest adult stem cells and re­gen­er­a­tive cells from the adi­pose (read: fat) col­lected dur­ing li­po­suc­tion. In­ject­ing a per­son’s stem cells into their own dis­eased heart tis­sues is then sup­posed to al­low for im­proved blood flow and re­duced is­chemia, de­creas­ing the dam­age that can lead to heart fail­ure.

The treat­ment re­quires one night in the hos­pi­tal.

Stem cells al­ways still seem a lit­tle bit too mag­i­cal to Out­liers, at least as they’re de­scribed in news re­leases. But hey, the FDA thinks there’s enough there to give the trial a go.

And we can imag­ine a day when some pa­tients might opt for a buy­one-get-one combo deal of lipo and stem-cell ther­apy.

CY­TORI THER­A­PEU­TICS

The treat­ment in­volves in­ject­ing “adi­pose-de­rived stem and re­gen­er­a­tive cells” into dis­eased heart tis­sue.

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