Adipose-derived stem cells are multipotent cells that can easily be extracted from adipose tissue, are capable of expansion in vitro, and have the capacity to differentiate into multiple cell lineages, which have the potential for use in regenerative medicine. However, several issues need to be studied to determine safe human use. For example, there are questions related to isolation and purification of adipose-derived stem cells, their effect on tumor growth, and the enforcement of U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations. Numerous studies have been published, with the interest in the potential for regenerative medicine continually growing. Several clinical trials using human adipose stem cell therapy are currently being performed around the world, and there has been a rapid evolution and expansion of their number. The purpose of this article was to review the current published basic science evidence and ongoing clinical trials involving the use of adipose-derived stem cells in plastic surgery and in regenerative medicine in general. The results of the studies and clinical trials using adipose-derived stem cells reported in this review seem to be promising not only in plastic surgery but also in a wide variety of other specialties. Nevertheless, those reported showed disparity in the way adipose-derived stem cells were used. Further basic science experimental studies with standardized protocols and larger randomized trials need to be performed to ensure safety and efficacy of adipose-derived stem cells use in accordance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines.
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