Gathering human stem cells from adipose tissue – fat – rather than bone marrow or other sources has been a major push by researchers at Nagoya University in Japan, and the school’s RTP-based U.S. technology transfer office said Thursday that several techniques are ready for commercial licensing.

Among the work that Nagoya says is ready for companies to license and take toward market are stem cell therapy to attack prostate cancer; a method of deriving multi-potential stem cells from fat that have been shown in mouse models to treat ischemia, kidney problems, osteoporosis and other conditions; a way to use stem cells to treat neurogenic bladder conditions, and a way to use a medium other than cow serum albumin to induce the precursors of bone and muscle cells.

Nagoya displayed the work during its NU Tech Regenerative Medicine Roundtable at the N.C. Biotechnology Center. Nagoya has its own non-profit company, Technology Partnerships of Nagoya University, Inc., based in Research Triangle Park to drive commercialization of research from Japan with U.S. companies and U.S. research with Japanese companies.

The NU Tech conference featured talks by researchers from Nagoya, Wake Forest University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, all of whom are working on cell-derived treatments for a range of illnesses.

Much of the Nagoya displayed Thursday work has been on developing and applying stem cells extracted from fat that does not come from bone marrow. Bone marrow fat is a traditional source of stem cells for medical therapies, but its supply of stem cells is limited.

Deriving useful cells from other adipose tissue is a way to make treatments based on stem cells more widely available, according to Nagoya researchers..

In one of the Japanese labs, researchers “have discovered that adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells inhibit the proliferation of prostate cancer,” the announcement said. They were able to prove that among a range of cancer cells, prostate cancer was “most effectively inhibited” and that the results were due to direct contact of the stem cells with the cancer cells.

Multi-potential stem cells from human adipose tissue can be collected by a relatively simple fractioning method and improved symptoms in mice with ischemic diseases (reduced arterial blood flow), kidney dysfunction and osteoporosis, Nagoya said.

In a third program, Nagoya scientists said they had found a way to isolate adispose-derived stem cells from tissues other than bone marrow and to isolate them from embryonic and other stem cells. The discovery means, the researchers said, that the derived cells could be delivered along with a patient’s own stem cells to eliminate rejection by the body.

The U.S. market for stem cells in regenerative medicine is expected to top $400 million by the end of 2012, the university said.

Following experiments involving patients who had had surgeries that adversely affected the nerves controlling their bladders, other scientists said, injections of fat-derived mesenchymal stem cells”dramatically helped the patients recover from neurogenic bladder.” A number of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, can cause neurogenic bladder problems, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Another Nagoya project involving mice found a way to grown cells that are precursors to bone and muscle cells in a medium that did not use serum albumin from cows. Using the bovine medium, the researchers said, poses “a high risk of causing mad cow disease to patients.”

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