In 2013, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released a report entitled “Paving the Way for Personalized Medicine,” in which they detail the approval of drugs for use in cancer patients with gene-specific tumors, a new therapeutic for a rare form of cystic fibrosis, as well as a 3D-printed bioresorbable tracheal splint used to recreate an airway in a critically-ill infant. This New Era of Medical Product Development quickly evolved into a presidential decree called the Precision Medicine Initiative which includes millions of dollars in new federal funding for “health care tailored to you.”
At the time that I joined the Center for Tissue Engineering at the University of California, Irvine in 2013, our lab was shifting focus away from looking exclusively at ways to regenerate nerves to a new field of adult stem cell research – the adipose-derived stem cell. Adult stem cells are a desirable resource in the human body because they have tremendous potential to regenerate native tissue and they reside in each of us, to some degree, in nearly every tissue of the body. The most concentrated source of adult stem cells resides in the bone marrow. Unfortunately, harvesting these mesenchymal stem cells requires a painful, invasive procedure and may carry a low yield.
In 2002, Dr. Patricia Zuk and a team at UCLA discovered that adipose tissue, or fat, is actually the most abundant source of adult stem cells in the body – and out of this discovery was born an entirely new field of stem cell research. Zuk’s group took liposuction fat, which is typically discarded, and processed it with an enzyme to release a mixture of cells known as the stromal vascular fraction. When they placed this mixture in a petri dish, they found the cells that attached to the surface of the dish were in fact mesenchymal stem cells, very similar to the ones found in the bone marrow. There now exist dedicated research labs and companies all over the world seeking ways to harness the potential of this finding to create novel therapeutics and cures.
At Syntr Health Technologies, we have discovered a new technique that not only isolates the stem cells that reside in liposuction fat, but also stimulates and enhances their regenerative potential. Our technology produces a non-enzymatic stromal vascular fraction, or NESVF™, that is both safe, and ready for use just moments after it is removed from the body. Our platform is fully customizable, and allows the physician to adjust the level of stem cell activation to the specific needs of the procedure. Our initial goal is to create an optimized therapeutic to prevent and treat the diabetic foot ulcer, but we are also excited at the virtually limitless potential of this therapeutic for various clinical applications. We are literally putting a spin on regenerative medicine and look forward to challenge of creating a new “healthcare tailored to you.”
Derek Banyard, MD, MBA
President & Chief Medical Officer