Valuable Fat

To find valuable stem cells, some scientists focus on fat

Scientists will meet in Pittsburgh Monday to discuss an exciting possibility: that fat might be a good source of stem cells. If so, fat -- something most people want to get rid of -- might someday help treat Parkinson's disease, heart attacks, heart failure and bone defects. Stem cells can also be taken from an embryo, but in the process, the embryo is destroyed. That's a problem for people who consider an embryo to be developing human life. Adult stem cells from fat would be less controversial, easy to harvest and plentiful.

The idea is being explored by the International Fat Applied Technology Society. The group's president says it's "trying to make fat do good."