May 12, 2010

UC Davis-More News on Arthritis Stem Cell Therapy (Part III)

In my second post on the UC Davis Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Meeting, I covered the presentations by Dr. Caplan and Bill Casner. UC Davis also presented data on the use of stem cells in horse deep flexor tendon injury (leads eventually to arthritis).  Dr. Larry Galuppo reported that 47 horses were treated (45% were severe injuries). 65% of these horses treated with stem cells recovered to return to work.

Next, Dr. Martin Vidal of UCD presented data that showed that stem cells from fat had the longest life when growing them in culture, compared to bone marrow stem cells and even when compared to umbilical cord stem cells. This was remarkable and supports the use of these stem cells from fat in our dogs as well.  Although we rarely grow cells (only when a dog runs out of stored cells), this ability to grow a long time shows that the stem cells found in fat are very young and viable….exciting indeed for the future of use of stem cells from fat tissue, especially as animals age and develop arthritis.

Dr. Chris Johnson of Lexington, Kentucky, reported on over 180 cases where he had treated race horses with stem cells, and greater than 50% returned to racing and raced at least 5 times after returning to the track.  He has used stem cells from fat and from bone marrow and the ability for a race horse to be successful on the track is perhaps the most difficult task for stem cell therapy. 

Lastly, Dr. Marty Gardner (Gardnerville, NV) presented data on the adipose stem cell treatment of 116 horses with suspensory ligament injury (the ligament that supports most of the weight of the horse). Over 90% of his patients returned to their previous level of performance, mostly competitive western reining work.

UC Davis is now expanding their research program to look at more horses with arthritis and we look forward to more information in the future. We have been asked to participate in this horse research and will provide both practical and scientific experience to their projects.

UC Davis now has a growing small animal research program and will be applying their knowledge and resources to dogs and cats with arthritis and other diseases. This collaboration will help us all move new treatments ahead to the clinic more rapidly.


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