Stem Cell Therapy: Here and Now in Veterinary Therapeutics
Stem Cell Implantation in Small Animal Therapeutics
Regenerative Medicine is a broad definition for innovative medical therapies that enable the body to repair, replace, restore, and regenerate damaged or diseased tissues. Vet-Stem Regenerative Medicine uses adult stem cells derived from the animal’s own fat tissue to treat traumatic injuries and degenerative diseases such as ligament injuries, osteoarthritis and cartilaginous arthritic conditions of dogs and cats. These are most often chronically painful disorders that rob animals of mobility and diminish quality of life.
This technology now gives us another means to counteract these conditions that was not available only a few years ago. We can help these animals rather than let them suffer or put them to sleep.
Differences in Regenerative Medicine compared to traditional medicine:
• Regenerative cell mixture is delivered either directly to the traumatic wound (e.g.: tendonitis, joint, fracture) or delivered systemically via intravenous injection (e.g.: liver disease, renal disease)
• Stem cells can differentiate into many tissue types, induce repair, and stimulate regeneration by local cells and tissues.
• Regenerative cells “communicate” with the cells of their local environment, creating the optimal environment for natural healing
• Regenerative cells produce a variety of substances that regulate tissue growth, integrity, and function
Stem cells are multipotent – which means that they can differentiate into different types of tissue depending on the body’s requirement. This includes tendon, ligament, bone, cartilage, cardiac, nerve, muscle, blood vessels, fat, and liver tissue (see figure below). The stromal fraction that is harvested from adipose tissue is a heterogeneous mixture of regenerative cells (see Figure 1 below).
Figure 1 stem cells that we deliver to the patient travel to the site of injury or disease and stimulate regional cells of many types to perform their function to achieve pain control, regeneration, and healing.
Mechanisms for success…
These stem cells, derived from the patient’s own fat tissue, are able to communicate with other cells in their local environment. Until recently, differentiation was thought to be the primary function of regenerative cells.
However, their functions are now known to be much more diverse and are implicated in a highly integrated and complex network. Stem cell therapy should be viewed as a complex, yet balanced, approach to a therapeutic goal. Unlike traditional medicine, in which one drug targets one receptor, implanted stem cells can be applied in a wide variety of traumatic and developmental diseases, and can produce healing wherever they’re delivered.
When a patient has been diagnosed as having a disorder amenable to stem cell therapy, a surgical procedure is performed to harvest fat tissue. This tissue is specially prepared and overnight shipped to the Vet Stem Laboratories in California.
There, the tissue undergoes a rigorous and stringent process to derive the multipotential stem cells to be used in therapy. This material is shipped back to our hospital.
The stem cells are delivered to the patient via the technique indicated according to the specific ailment. For example, a dog with hip dysplasia will be prepared for sterile surgery and will be lightly anesthetized for the procedure. Stem cells are injected directly into the affected hip joint(s), and then a measured dosage is delivered intravenously by way of a sterile catheter. The patient is awakened, and is usually released from the hospital the same day. Depending on circumstances, a course of laser therapy and/or rehabilitation may also follow the treatment.
We are very proud to announce that Dr. Mapes has been certified to provide Stem Cell Regenerative Therapy to our patients at Stonebridge Animal Hospital.
Construction has progressed very well; we’re ready to begin installation of new equipment including:
- Digital dental X-Ray
- Digital body radiology
- Laser Surgical unit
- Laser Therapy unit
- Software that allows us to e-mail lab reports, X-rays, instructions, etc. directly to pet owners
- Pain Control and Rehabilitation
- The most modern in-house laboratory
We look forward to our grand opening with hospital tours in the next few weeks. You will all be invited to tour the facility and see what the excitement is all about.