Jan 19, 2024

The Father of MSCs: Remembering Dr. Arnold Caplan

Posted by Bob under Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cells

Dr. Arnold Caplan, a friend, a colleague, and a mentor, recently passed away. The loss to the human AND veterinary medical fields is enormous. Arnold “Arnie” Caplan, a pioneering researcher in the field of regenerative medicine, is renowned for his groundbreaking work with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Arnie earned his Ph.D. from John Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has since dedicated his career to advancing our understanding of stem cell biology. In the late 1980s, Caplan identified and isolated mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow, a discovery that created the field of regenerative medicine. His work laid the foundation for exploring the therapeutic potential of MSCs in hundreds of medical applications.

Dr. Arnold “Arnie” Caplan, the Father of Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Caplan’s research highlighted the regenerative properties of MSCs, marking them as promising candidates for tissue repair and regeneration. Over the years, his contributions have not only advanced our understanding of stem cell biology but have also opened doors to new possibilities in regenerative medicine, with MSCs being explored as potential treatments for conditions such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular diseases, and immune disorders.

Most significantly, Arnie never stopped exploring the boundaries of what stem cells could do. He adamantly admitted he was wrong about stem cell mechanisms and re-named them Medicinal Signaling Cells to show they were the body’s drug store. Every 3-5 years he would renovate our understanding of these healing cells, showing they could block inflammation, treat pain, modulate the immune system, and stimulate healing. 

Dr. Caplan’s work has left an indelible mark on the field, shaping the trajectory of regenerative medicine and offering hope for innovative therapeutic interventions. He founded numerous companies and filed many foundational patents. 

For our founder and CEO, Dr. Bob Harman, Dr. Caplan was a guide through the complicated research literature, inviting us to enter his world of human medicine. He knew that veterinarians would be the pioneers and that the data we created would be transformative. He was correct. And with his urging and blessing, our veterinary regenerative medicine company, VetStem, gathered its complete veterinary data and sought FDA approval to extend our expertise to human treatments. The FDA granted approval, making us the pioneering company to demonstrate the reality of “One Medicine” and showcase how veterinary data can accelerate advancements in human medicine.

Arnie, you will be missed by everyone in the field, but your wisdom will impact the field for decades to come. Long live MSC’s.

Jul 7, 2023

What Are Stem Cells and Where Do They Come From?

Posted by Bob under Stem Cells

All of us have heard the term “stem cells” and most of us have some basic understanding of what that means. Stem cells are often referred to as the building blocks of life. Thus, when it comes to stem cells, many people think of embryonic stem cells. But when we talk about VetStem Cell Therapy, we’re actually talking about adult stem cells.

Adult Stem Cells vs. Embryonic Stem Cells

There are several differences between embryonic and adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells serve one purpose: to form whole organs and organisms. They are truly the “building blocks of life.” Embryonic stem cells exist only at the earliest stages of development, and they are pluripotent, meaning they can differentiate into any cell type.

Adult stem cells on the other hand include multiple types of stem cells that are present in almost all tissues of the adult body. They can be multipotent or unipotent, meaning they can only differentiate into one type of cell. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent adult stem cells that have demonstrated the ability to differentiate into multiple cell types including tendon, ligament, bone, cartilage, cardiac, nerve, muscle, blood vessels, fat, and liver tissue.

Adult Stem Cells Mechanisms of Action

Adult stem cells are utilized by the body to replenish dying cells and to repair damaged tissues. This discovery led to multiple studies to help determine the full therapeutic benefits of adult stem cells. VetStem uses adult MSCs in an effort to repair damaged tissues in animals with various injuries and diseases. But this is not the only mechanism of action that stem cells utilize in the healing process. Stem cells have also been shown to down-regulate inflammation, reduce pain, and modulate the immune system. All of these mechanisms, and more that we’re still learning about, make stem cell therapy a multimodal approach to healing.

Ideal Source of Adult Stem Cells

When used for VetStem Cell Therapy, adult MSCs are extracted from fat tissue, one of the richest sources of MSCs in the body. Fat tissue is also relatively easy to collect during a simple anesthetic procedure similar to a spay. Most animals recover quickly and uneventfully from the procedure, compared to more painful and invasive stem cell collection techniques. Additionally, fat is generally abundant in the body, even in skinny animals, making it an ideal source of stem cells.

If you think your pet may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, contact us to receive a list of providers in your area.