Adam J. Katz, MD

Adam J. Katz, MD

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Mesenchymal Stem Cells derived from adipose tissue

The Katz laboratory is focused on understanding the biology and therapeutic potential of human adult mesenchymal stem cells derived from subcutaneous adipose tissue.  These cells, termed Adipose Stem Cells (ASCs) share many features in common with marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) including gene expression profile, cell surface immunophenotype, growth, differentiation potential and immunomodulatory properties.  However, ASCs are associated with the added translational properties of being derived from a tissue source that is abundant, expendable, easy and safe to access, and amenable to autologous cell therapy strategies.

A core activity of the lab is to characterize the subtle subpopulations within ASC isolates using flow cytometry immunophenotyping and FACS enrichment.  Sorted (sub) populations are assayed within various in vitro and in vivo systems.  Part of this effort also involves the in vitro evaluation of self-assembled, 3-dimensional ASC networks (similar in concept to embryoid bodies) as well as the development of chemically defined, serum-free culture conditions that will facilitate and simplify potential translation to the clinical setting.  Current funding and research is also directed toward evaluating the in vivo potential of human ASCs within a murine model of myocardial infarction.  Studies on angiogenesis and microvascular remodeling are pursued with Dr. Shayne Peirce in Biomedical Engineering; on osteogenesis and bone reconstruction with Dr. Roy Ogle in the Department of Cell Biology; on CNS repair and reconstruction with Dr. Kevin Lee in the Department of Neuroscience; and on stromal-epithelial interactions and the aromatase axis within the setting of breast cancer with Dr. Rong Li in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. 

Together these research efforts have the potential to impact many aspects of cancer, and to do so in a translational manner.  Most obvious is the potential to reconstruct and/or regenerate tissue/organs damaged by cancer or its treatment/removal.  In addition, understanding the growth and differentiation of ASCs on a molecular and protein level will conceivably shed light on similar aspects of cells prone, or vulnerable to malignant transformation.  Finally, mechanisms of microvascular remodeling, immunomodulation, migration and homing, and stromal-parenchymal interactions are all directly applicable to cancer on both a basic science and a therapeutic level.