Doctors to use discarded fat from liposuction for stem cell research

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The chief plastic surgeon at UF Health Jacksonville Dr. John Murray sat down with News4Jax to discuss how fat discarded during liposuction will be used to help cure disease.

Typically, after a liposuction procedure, the fat is just thrown away, but researchers at UF Health Jacksonville have learned that fat tissue needs to be studied because it contains stem cells that may be critical to curing disease.

The focus will be on stem cell research that could teach science more about something that sounds like science fiction -- tissue regeneration.

“We can begin to engineer those cells to decrease those chronic diseases,” Murray said.

Murray said his team will take fat extracted during liposuction procedures and study it.

“Once we obtain that fat, instead of discarding it, now we’re going to use that proprietary technology to isolate those stem cells to begin to analyze them,” Murray said.

Then, they hope to learn how to regenerate tissue. The belief is that this will lead to breakthroughs in multiple conditions, including heart disease, cancer, arthritis and organ failure.

“Once we obtain those cells, and once we characterize those cells, we can turn them into different cellular types -- back into muscle, back into cartilage, back into bone,” Murray said.

Murray said it will take some time to do all the research. He said it will take several years before they have results that can start to change medical science. Part of that is due to limited knowledge of stem cells, but he said they’re starting immediately.

About the Author:

Scott is a multi-Emmy Award Winning Anchor and Reporter, who also hosts the “Going Ringside With The Local Station” Podcast. Scott has been a journalist for 25 years, covering stories including six presidential elections, multiple space shuttle launches and dozens of high-profile murder trials.