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Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2022 cycle requested a total of over $2.9 million dollars. The PSF Study Section subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated 115 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling almost $550,000 to support 19 plastic surgery research proposals.

ASPS/PSF leadership is committed to continuing to provide high levels of investigator-initiated research support to ensure that plastic surgeons have the needed research resources to be pioneers and innovators in advancing the practice of medicine.

Research Abstracts

Search The PSF database to have easy access to full-text grant abstracts from past PSF-funded research projects 2003 to present. All abstracts are the work of the Principal Investigators and were retrieved from their PSF grant applications. Several different filters may be applied to locate abstracts specific to a particular focus area or PSF funding mechanism.

Optimizing Adipose Stem Cell Immunotherapy Through Cell-Assisted Lipotransfer

Principal Investigator
Summer Hanson MD, Phd


University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Funding Mechanism
PSF/MTF Biologics Allograft Tissue Research Grant

Focus Area
Fat Grafting, Tissue Engineering

Autologous fat grafting (AFG) is a process where fat tissue is transferred from one part of the body to another and has been used for a variety of clinical problems. The biggest downside to AFG is that the amount of fat that remains over time is highly variable. One proposed method to address this is the addition of progenitor cells to the fat grafts before transferring the tissue. This innovative study design has significant and directly translatable clinical implications. We propose to compare three different types of grafts – standard processed lipoaspirate which will serve as our AFG control, lipoaspirate with fresh stromal vascular cells (SVCs) produced in the same surgical procedure (AFG + SVC), and lipoaspirate with culture-expanded adipose-derived stem cells (AFG + ASCs). We hypothesize that there will be improved graft retention when adipose grafts are supplemented with ASCs compared to cells isolated from the SVF or controls (Specific Aim 1). Independent of progenitor cell differentiation, we hypothesize that the immunomodulatory effects of ASCs will benefit cell – supplemented fat grafts more than the heterogeneous cells from the fresh SVF as evident in anti-inflammatory cytokines and regenerative growth factors. Our rationale is that this observed difference is mechanistically due, in part, to an anti-inflammatory effect of ASCs in response to the hypoxic adipose tissue produced in the grafting process. A grid will be designed on the dorsal flanks of immunocompromised mice and human adipose tissue grafts will be placed in the subdermal space (AFG, AFG +SVCs, AFG +ASCs). Animals will be euthanized at week 1, 2, 4, 8 and 12 and tissue grafts extracted. Analysis will include weight and volume, histologic and immunohistologic evaluation for cellularity, vascularity, and lipid, and cytokine and growth factor expression via RT-PCR. The long-term goal of our research is to optimize cell assisted lipotransfer (CAL) immunotherapy for clinical transplantation by promoting tissue healing and reducing inflammation. This hypothesis-driven, mechanism-based proposal will add insight to the role of progenitor cells in CAL an is applicable to a variety of tissue scaffolds and matrices. Furthermore, this proposal will provide ground work for a humanized mouse model to further characterize the immunologic effect of cell supplementation.

Summer E. Hanson, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and specializes in complex reconstructive surgery. Her research background is in stem cell engineering from the University of Wisconsin and she has particular interest in the anti-inflammatory effects of adipose derived stem cells (ASCs) on tissue healing and regeneration through interaction with immune cells. The long-term goal of her research is optimizing tissue grafts – autologous or allograft – through engineering strategies such as cell-supplementation to improve clinical outcomes. Novel cell-based therapies such as this offer considerable treatment possibility in plastic surgery in promoting tissue regeneration, restoring function, mitigating inflammation, addressing implant related pain, improving angiogenesis and addressing radiation fibrosis or scar. Through our long-standing collaboration, this work will lead to the development of a humanized mouse model in which the immune system of the nude mouse will be reconstituted with human cells, representing a novel approach to study tissue transfer and stem cell immunology in plastic surgery and oncologic reconstruction. Dr. Hanson also has an established clinical research program in breast reconstruction using structural tissue replacement and fat grafting with several active protocols.