As we posted on May 18 of this year, the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has opened a new Regenerative Medicine Laboratory which will provide a state-of-the art facility for processing, culturing and storing stem cells collected from a horse’s own blood or bone marrow. The equipment being used is being provided by our Stem Cell Sector company, Thermogenesis (KOOL).
Two companies, both of them privately owned, one in England, the other in San Diego, California, have already made significant progress in the veterinary regenerative medicine arena where stem cell therapies have become common practive.
MedCell Biosciences Ltd. was formed in September 2002 as a spin-out from the Institute for Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science (IOMS) and the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) to develop technology for the treatment of tendon and ligament injuries using adult stem cells. The clinical application of MedCell’s stem cell therapy currently forms a revenue stream for VetCell Biosciences Ltd..
VetCell Biosciences Ltd., in partnership with the Royal Veterinary College and the Institute for Orthopaedics, has pioneered a technique for affordably “multiplying” equine mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow. These stem cells can either be used immediately or cryogenically stored for future use.
VetCell, which has only recently expanded to the United States, estimates the number of European performance horse tendon / ligament injuries at over 150,000 per annum. Traditional therapies result in a scarred tendon and “recovered” tendons are both less efficient and have a high risk of re-injury. Stem cells, for the first time, hold the promise of being able to regenerate tendon cells where a tendon has been damaged by injury or disease (regeneration rather than repair).
According to VetCell: "When a veterinary surgeon chooses to treat an injured equine tendon or ligament using mesenchymal stem cells he can either withdraw cells that have been previously “banked” or extract bone marrow from which VetCell will separate and “multiply” the mesenchymal stem cells.
The cells are implanted into the core of the lesion and the animal enters a controlled rehabilitation programme in order to provide the cells with both the chemical and physical cues to promote appropriate differentiation."
Vet-Stem, Inc., a privately owned U.S. corporation, was formed in 2002 to bring regenerative medicine technology to the veterinary profession. Their goal is to be the conduit for the latest developments in human medical technology and provide easy-to-use services and products to the practicing veterinarian. They are now nationwide, working through a network of practicing veterinarians
Vet-Stem claims to have treated more than 3,000 horses with the number of small animals exceeding that. Annual sales are reported to exceed $15 million. Equine applications emphasize tendon and ligament injuries. Vet-Stem has specialized in canine orthopedic soft tissue: tendon and ligament injuries and osteoarthritis.
It might be logical to assume that human soft tissue and orthopedic applications might also be the first to achieve broad application. To some extent this is happening now in sports medicine with the application of platelet rich plasma.