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The current landscape of adipose-derived stem cells in clinical applications

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 May 2014

Ming Hui Lim
Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Wee Kiat Ong
Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Shigeki Sugii*
Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore
*Corresponding author: Shigeki Sugii, Singapore Bioimaging Consortium, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), 11 Biopolis Way #02-02, 138667, Singapore. E-mail:


Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) are considered a great alternative source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Unlike bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs), ASCs can be retrieved in high numbers from lipoaspirate, a by-product of liposuction procedures. Given that ASCs represent an easily accessible and abundant source of multipotent cells, ASCs have garnered attention and curiosity from both scientific and clinical communities for their potential in clinical applications. Furthermore, their unique immunobiology and secretome are attractive therapeutic properties. A decade since the discovery of a stem cell reservoir residing within adipose tissue, ASC-based clinical trials have grown over the years around the world along with assessments made on their safety and efficacy. With the progress of ASCs into clinical applications, the aim towards producing clinical-grade ASCs becomes increasingly important. Several countries have recognised the growing industry of cell therapies and have developed regulatory frameworks to assure their safety. With more research efforts made to understand their effects in both scientific and clinical settings, ASCs hold great promise as a future therapeutic strategy in treating a wide variety of diseases. Therefore, this review seeks to highlight the clinical applicability of ASCs as well as their progress in clinical trials across various medical disciplines.

Review Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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