Mining the Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF) for Stem Cell Therapy


Our Graduate Students Are Mining SVF-Stromal Vascular Fraction

Message From Walter P. Drake to Graduate Students, Panama College of Cell Science

October 4, 2022

At the Panama College of Cell Science, we have been teaching our graduate students Stem Cell Therapy using SVF. For over 15 years.

While autologous stem cell therapy using a patient’s own cells has been widely applied worldwide, it has been blocked in the United States.

Until now. A recent Federal Court decision from August 2022 ruled in favor of a California Stem Cell Clinic that harvesting stem cells and growth factors from fats tissue in the abdomen and then re-injecting into the same patient was an allowed surgical procedure not involving the manufacturing of drugs. Federal Judge enters judgment in favor of Cell Surgical Network, ending lawsuit brought by the FDA

The stem cells and all the related goodies necessary for cures of most diseases and conditions are found within each of us in our abdominal fatty tissue known as adipose tissue. Liposuction harvests this product and allows therapeutic results to be universally achieved. 

This lyposate product is called Stomal Vascular Fraction…or SVF. Our Panama College of Cell Science graduate students know this SVF is the “liquid gold”… the actual fountain of youth.

This is what the SVF contains, not all growth factors etc. noted: 

A “soup” of cells including cytokines and growth factors is used for therapy. We know that endothelial cells have been shown to work in harmony with stem cells to help grow them in large numbers. Endothelial cells are included. We know that cytokines and unknown growth factors help in therapy, which , in other types of treatment centers, is why a soup of fetal tissue is so effective in therapy. Cytokines and growth factors are included. Many other beneficial cells are also included:

Vascular Fraction Cellular Composition
Adult autologous stem cells (Mesenchymal)
Endothelial Cells
Growth Factors
Pre­adipocytes cells
Smooth muscle cells

Blood Cells from the capillaries supply including:
B&T cells
Hematopoietic stem cells
Endothelial progenitor cells Macrophages
Mast Cells
Natural killer (NK) cells

It is primarily the endothelial cells, endothelial growth factor, and the many other molecules and compounds that are absolutely necessary for activating each person’s innate but dormant stem cells. These cytokines and messenger molecules are what trigger innate stem cells to wake up and fix things. Make skin look youthful, cure arthritis, cure and control most autoimmune disease.

Dr. Neil Riordan, Director of the Panama Stem Cell Center, noted that activation is necessary in his seminal paper, where he said about administering cord blood: “A more promising approach may be administration of cord blood cells in combination with activators of endogenous stem cells…In the majority of cases, stem cell activating compounds are administered for therapeutic benefit in absence of addition of exogenous stem cell sources…Activators of endogenous stem cells may be administered to allow localized tissue repair, while exogenous stem cells are administered to provide support to the activated endogenous cells.”

And so, we keep reminding our students at the Panama Colleges of Cell Science that “It’s in the soup”…serum factors in the SVF, not actually the stem cells themselves, are what drives the therapeutic result. This was clearly shown by the paired mice experiments: 

So, how did we get to this realization about SVF being the liquid gold?

Peripheral Blood: In the beginning, 20 years ago,  the excitement was that 25 ml of peripheral blood containing stem cells could yield cures. But that was mostly shown by direct injection of collected stem cells into tissues and organs. In particular there was a lot of direct injection into cardiac tissue, particularly in Thailand. The hope was that individual physicians could treat patients with their own stem cells. But the cell numbers were never sufficient…or so we thought. We thought making more cells in culture was needed to generate a therapeutic result. Which made things complicated for the individual physician.

SVF: Then SVF came along with all the goodies, cytokines, enzymes, growth factors eluded from disassociated adipose tissue (liposuction). While stem cells are of course included, they are not important. It is the numerous other stuff, endothelial growth factors, endothelial cells, all the other over 30 items in the SVF fraction that is causing the therapeutic results we are seeing. The Kristin Comella paper using intravenous SVF showed this clearly: Safety Analysis of Autologous Stem Cell Therapy in a Variety of Degenerative Diseases and Injuries Using the Stromal Vascular Fraction

Stem cells not required. The FDA has proven that bare bones Umbilical Cord Blood (UCB) stem cells have no therapeutic value whatsoever, as their off the shelf approved and very expensive product is not used by anyone. On the flip side, fetal tissue containing all the soup from crushed fetal tissue can regenerate a liver when the soup is injected into a damaged or diseased liver, as has been shown for over 40 years in Russia and the Ukraine. They don’t do “liver transplants” over there. 

And so, increasing the stem cell count in the peripheral blood is not going to do anything. Increasing the peripheral circulating stem cell count with no beneficial growth factors and cytokines will have no effect on any disease or condition. 

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Burn victims benefit greatly from sheets of stem cells. 

Some conditions may need Both stem cells and soup. Scleroderma is one condition that needs both vectors. That is because, as an autoimmune  disease, the transplanted stem cells may aid in reprogramming the immune system. But again, without the companion growth factors and other serum factors, this will not occur by transplanting stem cells alone. 

Conditioned Media. Along the same lines, it has been shown that media used to grow stem cells in culture has curative effects, again coming back to the same point that stem cells are not needed. Even Dr. Riordan in Panama, who uses only UCB stem cells for therapy, expands them in culture and collects the media for co-injection with the UCB stem cells. In a rudimentary experiment, the Koreans reported that stem cell conditioned media applied to the face improved appearance.

So, let’s get you graduate students mining SVF!!!!

Improvement/Substitution for Liposuction. 

The gold is sitting in the adipose tissue in our bellies!  And the endothelial cells, growth factors, and all the other beneficial molecules have to be released. Adipose tissue has to be disassociated in situ, and then withdrawn with 27 gauge needles. If these improvements are not achieved, the SVF procedure will remain in a surgeon’s hands and be very expensive. We have to get the harvesting of SVF out of surgery and into the general physician’s office. “Tumescent liposuction” was a big advance. But this remains a surgical procedure, and some other method of causing localized in vivo lipolysis with subsequent retrieval of SVF is needed, if progress is going to be made for SVF to become a routine therapeutic procedure.

Our colleague, Laurence V. Hicks, MD, of Idaho, suggested the Touhy needle to substitute for liposuction: “This can replace the pipette used to break down abdominal fat and it can be extracted using a Negative pressure syringe (Vaclok). I used to use these to grab an endometrial sample when I did Ob-Gynecology.”

From Dr. Hicks:

Touhy needle and alternative to liposuction

Other small gauge needles are also available in the 25-27 gauge size:

small needles may also substitute for extraction of adipose tissue once dissolved or disassociated with injection lypolysis

Of course, these small needles may solve the extraction issue, but the adipose tissue will still have to be dissolved and disassociated mostly in situ. A new term for this is “Injection Adipolysis”, as described here: “among the newest modalities for the treatment of unwanted subcutaneous fat deposits is injection adipolysis, which utilizes products containing the active ingredient sodium deoxycholate (sDc). This technique has sparked interest due to limited downtime and ease of subcutaneous injection, and confers the ability to target small pockets of adipose tissue not amenable to treatment with other modalities.”
Shahraam Kalmalpour and Keith Leblanc, “Injection Adipolysis: Mechanisms, Agents, and Future Directions”, Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 2016, 9:44 ADIPOLYSIS

The paper noted the alternatives to liposuction: radio frequency, high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), cryolipolysis, non-thermal ultrasound, and injection adipolysis using products containing the active ingredient sodium deoxycholate (SDC).

So, to our graduate students I say: Start Mining…start thinking outside the box and develop new ways to disassociate adipose tissue in situ, for extraction harvesting with small needles and, and then on to centrifuging out the fat for IV injection of the SVF into patients.


The Panama College of Cell Science
The First and Still Only
Online Ph.D. Degree in Stem Cell Biology

Since 2005



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