A Manchester based regenerative clinic introduced the country’s first stromal vascular fraction technology that uses fat cells to replace degraded cells in one's body. 

Manchester Stem Cell Centre, a regenerative and stem cell therapy clinic, has developed a procedure known as SYNTHESIS 360, to extract fat cells from a patient's own body, process it into mesenchymal stromal cells popularly known as stem cells and re-inject it into the patient for either aesthetic purposes or to alleviate patients arthritic joint problems. 

Prajakta S, Stem cell Scientist and Regenerative Medicine Practitioner at Manchester Stem Cell Centre said, “The reason why our knees creak or why there is a reduction in the the fullness of ones breasts and buttocks is due to the loss in collagen fibres that create and hold supportive cells like fat or cartilage.

"As we age, collagen fibres lose their elasticity and are less able act as a “scaffold” within tissues, leading to loss of cells. With adipose mesenchymal stem cell treatments, we primarily extract fat using a lipoaspiration technique, ideally from either the patient’s tummy, side flanks or inner thighs. It's then centrifuged and spun down, separating the stem cells from the whole fats.

"The stem cells are then further broken down to achieve concentrated stromal vascular mesenchymal signalling cells which are injected back into the area that requires regeneration. This procedure is especially useful for patients with conditions such as osteoarthritis, or sport injuries as well as being used for aesthetic purposes." 

Adipose-derived stem cells tissue or fat cells are mesenchymal cells that have the ability to self-renew. They consist of special signals or receptors which are  capable of differentiating into various cells like muscle cells, cartilage cells, or repair collagen and repair damaged cells subsequently, therefore elevating it as a potent cell type in stem cell treatments.

The use of one’s own cells for aesthetic or joint conditions, decreases the risk of side effects and gives one the ability to restore organic natural function in case of aesthetics or joint Conditions. 

“Especially in the breast augmentation industry, many patients prefer silicone implants. However, silicone implants introduces the risk of cancers due to inherent complications with inserting foreign objects into the body,” Prajakta added.

As the stem cell scientist said, the nature of regenerative treatments make it absolutely free of side effects. In comparison, breast augmentation using silicon implants poses inherent risks for the patients. For example, strenuous activity performed by the patient could cause the silicon implant to rupture leading to silicone fluids to leak out of the implants and into the patients body. However, stems cells are not without its limitations. As the stem cells are taken from the patient’s own body, patients leading an unhealthy lifestyle may have less effective stem cells. Therefore, regenerative treatments using the patient’s own cellshave less than optimal stem cells may have little to no effect. This is a good gesture for most of our patients to start a healthy lifestyle and acts as a good change agent in one's life.

According to Prajakta, it usually takes 2-3 months post treatment to notice changes when stem cells are used for joint and musculoskeletal conditions whilst aesthetic treatments take up 1 or 2 months minimum to show results, considering the volume and post  operative measures. 

The Stem Cell Scientist 

Prajakta’s journey into the world of stem cells began in early 2008 as an embryologist. Unconvinced by the ethical concerns an embryologist’s job posed, she moved to England and started her research in the application of regenerative  treatments for ovarian cancer. It was at this time that she explored the potential administration of stem cells.

She said, “The research I conducted at the University of Sheffield piqued my interest in stem call based regenerative treatments.

"In my research, a blend of ovarian cancer cells and mesenchymal stem cells  that was exposed to a short chain fatty acid known as Butyrate (naturally found in an ingredient called ghee or clarified butter) lead to a reduction in the number of ovarian epithelial cancer cells. Simplifying it further, the combination of a rich nutritional diet with highly concentrated concoction of Mesenchymal Signalling cells definitely proved beneficial in depleting the number of cancer cells in-vitro.

"Hence, there is a huge advantage in mainstreaming stem cell treatments under the current guidelines of governmental healthcare and research. By doing so, we can establish effective treatment regimes  with the applications of stems cells in commercial healthcare as well. The possibilities are literally endless if we can find a way to make stem cell treatments mainstream! It literally has me hooked!"

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According to her, stem cells are the closest thing science has to a fountain of youth, which helps to explain the hope and scientific hype surrounding them.

However, despite all the possibilities, stem cell therapy still remains uncommon and underused in the medical world. Why is this so?

Prajakta believes the successes of stem cell treatments are not applauded as vehemently as “traditional” pharmaceutical solutions. And says there is a lack of awareness and scepticism around the types of stem cells used for already established treatments.

She added, “The public is mainly exposed to a type of  healthcare which is channelled towards drug based or pharmaceutically lead healthcare.” 

“People do not know about stem cell clinics such as ours due to the onslaught of advertisements and government supported clinics which favour more invasive treatments such as surgeries. In addition, any new treatments (such as stem cell therapy) face an indeterminate duration before they can be allowed to be practiced in healthcare sectors.

"Adding to this, the startup costs to cover when practicing stem cell treatments privately is high as there are no available government subsidies to aid research and development. Therefore, hiring the right team with the existing knowledge and skills in order to help the patient is an added cost,” she added.

The unpopularity of stem cell treatments delves from the mindsets of people who choose easier and faster options rather than the permanent and effective ones. Prajakta is of the view that pharmaceutical companies exploit people and their views about healthcare. 

She said, “It’s a sort of a money-making circular business wherein you want a return for the drugs purchased. Almost all pharma companies want to you to be a part of this vicious cycle.

"The vicious cycle in which patients gets addicted to the health benefits the drug purports, spending money on the medicine they think they need, leading to big profits for the company. Profits which the pharmaceutical companies pour back into research and investment to make their drugs more effective reinforcing the vicious cycle of drug taking.

"Why would these big pharmaceutical giants invest in stem cell commercialism at all? Effective stem cell based treatments would mean that the patient’s condition would be managed (if not cured) and would delay, if not eliminate, the need for surgery or drugs.

"This would push the need for pharmaceutical drugs to the side, causing the pharmaceutical giants to lose their loyal money spending customers.

"Stem cells are a barrier to the pharmaceutical industry due to its effectiveness in curing medical problems without developing a dependency on pharmaceutical drugs."