Apr 5, 2011


Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cells have been known for a long time, dating back to the earliest successful bone marrow transplant in 1958.  But the painful process of drilling into bone and the need to do extensive laboratory expansion of bone marrow stem cells before use made them both difficult and expensive.  Late in the 1990’s this all changed with a dramatic discovery at the University of Pittsburgh.

The laboratory of Dr Bill Futrell, the head of the Department of Plastic Surgery, had been carefully observing the effects of fat transplants and believed that there was something in fat that had regenerative powers.  Dr. Futrell turned to two bright young surgery residents, Dr. Ramon Llull and Dr. Adam Katz to see if they could tease out the active components.  The following year, Drs. Llull and Katz reported to Dr. Futrell that they had successfully isolated a cell type from the fatty tissues that appeared to be a true stem cell.  The cell was able to transform into bone, cartilage, and nerve tissue and had all of the characteristics of a stem cell.  They also had discovered that the isolation was relatively simple and that there were over 1000X more stem cells in fat tissue than in bone marrow.  The University of Pittsburgh filed patents in the US and globally around this very surprising discovery and in 2004 they were granted the first patent on the adipose (fat) stem cell!

Vet-Stem was granted a global exclusive license from the University of Pittsburgh (Via Artecel, Inc.) and the University of California to use the adipose stem cell patents (more than 55 issued patents now) for animals in the veterinary field.  We began in 2003 to do the supporting research in horses and then expanded to dogs and cats in 2008. ABC Nightline did a full segment national story on the launch of the Vet-Stem small animal services in early 2008. 

The rest is history.  Last year the 3,000th Dog was treated using Vet-Stem services and over 7,000 total patients have been treated.  We are proud of being apart of the team, including over 2,000 veterinarians, that have been able to bring this cutting edge therapy to your pets.

A recent Press Release clarifies any confusion about who owns the rights to these foundational patents – Vet-Stem!


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