The Basics of Stem Cells
Dr. Maria Angelo-Khattar, MD, PhD, MSc Dermatology
Founder & Director of Aesthetic Clinic in Dubai
In layman terms, what are stems cells with regards to anti-aging?
Stem cells are the ‘mother’ of all cells, recruited for the replenishment and regeneration of the tissue of the organs in which they live. Stem cells are very useful for regenerative therapy. and are capable of releasing various growth factors that can participate in the healing process.
How are they used cosmetically in the field of anti-aging?
Adipose-derived stem cells can give dramatically results in terms of anti-aging. Essentially, the process begins with the extraction of a small amount of fat (20cc) using syringe liposuction; the fat is then sent to a labs, in which the stem cells and extraction are cultured to produce millions of stem cells. These can be immediately injected into the desired area, or they can be cryo-preserved for further use. Stem cells injected superficially in the dermal layer of the skin are differentiated into fibroblasts (collagen producing cells), which then produce collagen and elastin: the structural foundations of the skin. In terms of scalp regeneration, the stem cells improve the health of existing hair follicles. Stem cells are now also being used during the process of fat transfer, during which millions of stem cells are mixed with autologous fat that is grafted to areas such as the face, breasts or buttocks.
This is completely different from a standard fat transfer, which does not produce the same healing, regenerative, and restorative benefits. Moreover, a fat transfer to the breasts or face is generally reabsorbed by the body, and disappears within months. With adipose-derived stem cells, the results have been proven to be long-lasting.
What are some of the key benefits of stems cells and why do you feel they are the wave of the future?
Stem cells are attractive candidates for the development of new and novel therapies, targeting indications that involve functional restoration of defective tissue. In addition to using stem cells for anti-aging, they can also be used for natural body shaping and contouring. By using the patient’s autologous cells, we eliminate the chance of rejection, while we simultaneously maximize the benefits such as healing and regeneration of the targeted tissues.
What can we expect to see in the future in the field of anti-aging and stem cells?
Potentially, the most important application of human stem cells is the regeneration of tissues that could be used for cell-based therapies. Currently, donated organs and tissues are often used to replace destroyed tissue, but there is a limit to the supply of transplantable tissues. It might be possible to direct stem cells to differentiate into specific cell type; hence, we would have a possible renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, spinal cord injury, and burns.
Dr. Khattar is the only Director of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) outside the U.S. who is certified to conduct the hands-on modules for the U.S. Aesthetic Medicine Fellowship. For more information on the latest treatments in regenerative medicine, follow Dr. Khattar on Instagram @dr.maria.khattar, or contact the Aesthetic Clinic in Dubai at 04 429 8533 / www.aestheticaclinic.com.