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Regenerative cell therapy to promote colorectal wound healing

The use of regenerative cell therapy to improve wound healing following gastrointestinal surgery is to be investigated as part of a new research project that will be managed and overseen by the HTC.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, the University of Leeds, University College London and Cytori Therapeutics Inc will collaborate on the research, which is funded through a £30K proof-of-concept grant from the Leeds Medical Technologies Innovation & Knowledge Centre.

The project will use an existing technology, developed by Cytori Therapeutics, that derives adult autologous regenerative cells from adipose tissue. Patients currently undergo liposuction to obtain the necessary fat, which is treated with enzymes to harvest the cells, known as adipose-derived regenerative cells (ADRCs).

Lead researcher and trainee general surgeon, Annabelle Williams, said: “Adipose tissue – essentially body fat – is thought to contain 100 to 300 times more stem cells than bone marrow. We have a lot of fat in our bodies and it’s much easier to access than bone marrow, making it an ideal source of regenerative cells for use in different therapies.”

The new research will assess whether the ADRC technology can be adapted for use with the omentum, the fatty tissue that covers and supports the intestines and organs in the lower abdomen. The aim is to harvest a mixed cell population from the omentum that contains high levels of cytokines and growth factors, proven to promote healing. The aim is to then apply this cellular mix to promote anastomotic healing following colorectal surgery.