Jul 2, 2010

UC Davis – Fat Stem Cells in Fracture Healing

Posted by Bob under Horse Injuries, Stem Cell Therapy

Dr. Kent Leach at UC Davis has just release some ground-breaking research findings that stem cells from fat, when administered with a new bio-scaffolding, can help repair bone injury and damage. 
“Kent Leach, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, has already used the treatment in three racehorses. Now, with a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Army, he will begin testing it in rats.  The method employs a gel-like material to encourage stem cells from fat to regenerate damaged bone.

The stem cells have been shown to stimulate the growth of small blood vessels in developing bone, encouraging healing. The gel keeps the stem cells at the injury site; as the bone heals, the gel breaks down.”

This is amazing research.  It can apply to horses, dogs, cats, and, of course, humans.  Getting a bone cyst or bad fracture to heal is always a challenge to the veterinarian.  Matching up these powerful stem cells from fat with a “mesh” to hold them in place makes good sense.

 “Using stem cells from a patient’s own fat has two main advantages”, Leach said. “The stem cells have a better chance of succeeding and not being rejected by the body; and the main alternative, extraction from bone marrow, can be painful, requires several days of recovery time, and is not feasible for severely injured or weakened patients.”

“Stem cells from adipose tissue are an exciting alternative to stem cells from bone marrow or other tissues because we can isolate a large number, no matter what the patient’s condition is,” Leach said.

This is important in the prevention of arthritis as well because a bad fracture that enters the joint may lead to arthritis if it does not heal properly.  In horses, a bone cyst (hole) in the end of the bone often leads to arthritis in that joint, even in younger animals.  The success in these three horses is very exciting and Vet-Stem will be following the progress with great interest so that we can bring this new advance to as many animals as possible.

Thanks Dr. Leach for your great work.


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