Research Impact Report - Project 537

Defining the quality and quantity of stromal vascular fraction (SVF): a feasibility and pilot study to determine the effect of harvest site, local anaesthetic with adrenaline and the method of cell isolation

Principal Investigator Vipin Asopa

Stream Post-Doc

Duration 18 Months

Cost £50,000

Lay summary

Our research has shown that stem cell can be obtained from tummy or buttock fat using liposuction. Using local anaesthetic does reduce the number of cells obtained. This means that the cells could be obtained by liposuction in an outpatient setting.

The research confirms that shows that the cells can be transported to a laboratory 2 hours away using ice to protect them.

Growth factors can be used to make the cells cluster together to form spheres which could be used as part of a treatment in the future.

Impact statement

Preliminary data from 6 patients confirms:

  1. Viable stem cells can be obtained liposuction of adipose tissue and transport on ice for 2 hours to the University of Brighton.
  2. Stem cells can be harvested from the abdomen or buttock using local anaesthetic.
  3. Mechanical isolation of cells provides a 2-3 fold lower yield than enzymatically isolated cells.
  4. There is no significant difference in yield between the abdomen or buttock, meaning that the procedure can be performed at either site.
  5. The use of a tumescent solution (local anaesthetic and adrenaline) marginally improves cell yield.
  6. Overall cell yield following mechanical or enzymatic isolation is comparable or better than that reported in the literature (Literature reports, for mechanical: 0.1-2 x10^5 cells / ml and for enzymatic: 3-13×10^5 cells/ml [Markarian 2014, Conde-Green 2014, Mitchell 2006, Yoshimura 2006] ).


  1. These results confirm that stem cells are present in the tissues. Local anaesthetic and mechanical isolation using liposuction based technique can provide an excellent source of stem-cells. This could allow the development of outpatient based harvesting techniques and outpatient based therapeutic procedures.
  2. Analysis confirms that stem-cells can be harvested from adipose tissue and successfully transported to the partners laboratory for analysis and processing.

Fundamental problem trying to address

There is little standardisation of techniques used to harvest stem-cell from adipose tissue. It is not known, how best to and where from, to obtain these cells. This study aims to answer the problem through a systematic analysis of samples taken from patients who have kindly offered to take part in this research project.

Aims & Objectives

  • Define a recruitment process for this project.
  • Define a process for harvesting cells using liposuction and logistics to University of Brighton (partner).
  • Confirm the following, for 40 patients, for cells isolated from lipoaspirate obtained under different conditions [site of harvest (hip or abdomen), anaesthetic used (or not) and isolation method (mechanical or enzymatic)].
  • Light microscopy analysis of cells at day 0 and day 10 culture.
  • Cell-yield (count) on isolation.
  • Flow-cytometry analysis.
  • Chondrogenic differentiation assay.

Intellectual property

This is not known at present, but it is likely that the project will mainly lead to the establishment of a widely adoptable surgical procedures for adipose stem cell transplantation in osteochondral defects.

Team members & other funders

Professor Richard Field
Professor Matteo Santin
Professor Deiary Kader
Professor Sochart
Irrum Afzal
Vipin Asopa


Preparing a preliminary paper to be submitted to an orthopaedic journal and abstracts to be presented at international conferences such as the European Society for Biomaterials.






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