STEM CELL MYTHBUSTERS
One of the more popular stem cell kits being sold to doctors to treat knee, hip, shoulder, and ankle arthritis is a fat stem cells light kit which uses a light to “activate” fat stem cells. The doctor takes a fat sample from the abdomen or the thigh and places that in a bedside kit to isolate a fraction that contains stem cells. These cells are then exposed to a proprietary light that then reportedly causes the cells to become “activated” and “supercharged”. Is there research that shows that a mix of cells isolated from fat in 1-2 hours and exposed to some type of light could “supercharge” the stem cells? I searched the U.S. National Library of Medicine under various iternations of mesenchymal stem cells, light, infrared, ultraviolet, laser, adipose, and stromal vascular fraction. All I found was one paper, which didn’t show any supercharging of cells. Lee has shown that ultraviolet light can reduce the propensity of cultured mesenchymal stem cells to turn into fat. You would think that since this claim is being made widely on the internet by medical providers using these kits that there would be many researchers who have confirmed this phenomenon. In fact, there isn’t good research confirming that this happens. The upshot? While the company selling the fat stem cells light shaker kits to process fat stem cells at the bedside may have constructed a small study, the concept that exposing cells to a special light will somehow make them into supercharged super cells isn’t well vetted.