Stem Cells are injected directly into the joint space when treating arthritis. Studies have shown that these cells have the ability to regrow cartilage identical to the cartilage that may have been damaged in the arthritis. This cartilage will function to reduce pain and inflammation and to provide a more normal surface for movement. Most pets with arthritis respond very well with stem cell therapy, greatly improving mobility and reducing or eliminating the pain associated with movement . In addition the amount of pain medications is also reduced or eliminated. Please note however, if your pet has arthritis, it usually means there is some abnormal conformation or damage to the joint that may not be repaired by the stem cells. Arthritic pets may have to have additional injections of stem cells to maintain the positive effects that stem cells will give them. We usually recommend cryogenic storing of your pet’s stem cells for additional injections should it be necessary. Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of stem cell therapy for the treatment of arthritis. The scientific articles below demonstrate that stem cells are an effective way to manage this crippling disease.
Stem cells application in a single dose caused the regrowth of cartilage within the joint. This cartilage represented near normal hyaline (original) cartilage as well as the partial regrowth of the meniscus.
Controlled blinded study – doctors did not know what treatment the pets were given – Shows significant healing of hip arthritis.
Stem Cells for Cardiomyopathy
Cardiomyopathy is a hereditary heart disease in many breeds but most common in Doberman Pinscers, boxers and great danes. Additional breeds with this disease in their bloodline are Airdale Terrier, Border Terrier, Bullmastiff, English Cocker Spaniel, English Foxhound, Ibizan hound, Irish Wolfhound, Norfolk Terrier, Portuguese Water Dog, Saint Bernard, Sussex Spaniel, West hightland White Terrier. In cardiomyopathy the heart muscle develops a weakness which makes it difficult to pump the blood effectively. The heart muscle becomes thinner as the heart dilates or expands. This disease can be managed with pharmacologic agents that improve muscle contraction for a period of time but the course is usually short – less than a year after diagnosis. Stem cells can be surgically placed into the pericardial sac and from there they will migrate to the damaged or weakened heart muscle cells helping them to repair. Studies in humans, rats and dogs have shown stem cells to regenerate heart muscle cells improving the output of the heart muscle and stabalizing the deterioriation of the heart muscles. See the articles listed below as reference for the effectiveness of Stem Cells in this disease.
Cardiomyopathy Patients with no other options studied in double blinded placebo controlled study of stem cell effectiveness. Adipose (fat) Derived Stem Cells may preserve ventricular function, myocardial perfusion, and exercise capacity in these patients.
Implantation of adipose derived stem cells into the pericardial sac may be the most effective way of delivering stem cells to the heart muscle in patients with cardiomyopathy.
Intervertebral Disc Disease / Spinal Cord Injury
Intervertebral Disc Disease is very common in veterinary practice. Many pets have a genetic predisposition to developing disc problems in their back. The spinal cord sits inside the spinal canal. The spinal canal is the hollow space inside the vertebrae. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that extends from the brain down the back to the rear legs. These nerves allow the brain to communicate its commands to the muscles that control the legs and other muscles of the body. The spinal cord also receives signals from the body that keeps it updated on limb position, and sensory responses such as touch and pain. The disc has a tough fibrous outer layer (annulus fibrosis) and a jelly-like layer in the middle (nucleus pulposus) which acts like a shock absorber. Just as a jam donut can explode if you squeeze it the wrong way; a disc can rupture and the inner portion of the disc can burst out and smash against the spinal cord causing lots of damage and inflammation.
Stem Cell Therapy for Disc disease and Spinal Cord Injury can be effective if injected directly into the disc as shown in this radiograph or applied directly to the damaged or compressed spinal cord as described in reference #3 below.
Intervertebral Disc Disease and Spinal Cord Injury
Canine model of spinal cord injury was treated with stem cells one week after injury. Within 2 weeks dogs were able to regain functional mobility. Control animals did not.
Kidney Disease / Incontinence
Kidney disease or kidney failure is one of the most common causes of death in dogs and cats. It is the number one cause of death in cats and number two cause of death in dogs. The kidneys are unique and complicated organs that only show disease to the body when over 75% of their function is compromised by disease or dysfunction. Medical therapy and fluid therapy do not improve the kidney function that has been lost. These treatments only mitigate the buildup of metabolites that accumulate when the kidneys are not functioning. Stem cells have shown to regenerate kidney tissue, improve kidney function and reduce metabolite build up.
Incontinence is very common in neutered pets and is the result of diminished tone of the sphincter muscle of the bladder. Stem cells injected into this area have been shown to correct this problem.
Available experimental evidence confirms that Stem Cell Therapy contributes to cellular repair and ameliorates renal injury in Chronic Kidney Disease. Injection directly into the kidney or renal artery seem to be the most effective routes of administration. Studies in animal models of chronic renal failure have uncovered a unique potential of these cells for improving function and regenerating the damaged kidney.
Potential application of adipose tissue-derived stem cells for urological disease
ADSC treatment was associated with improved renal function. IV therapy appeared to be effective. Autologous stem cells (those from the animal’s own body) performed better than allogenic (stem cells from the same species) stem cells. Bladder sphincter tone improved and control of urine flow restored in incontinence.
A single intravenous infusion of Fat Derived Stem Cells from a Human reversed kidney disease in a rat.. The therapeutic effect was evaluated by plasma creatinine measurement, structural analysis and angiogenic/epitheliogenic protein expression.
Organized statistical review of stem cell therapy for kidney failure. 71 articles reviewed for success factors. Factors associated with most success in therapy included using adipose derived stem cells given either Intravenous or intra-arterially. Success was not determined by dose or by number of injections. Our meta-analysis confirms that cell-based therapies improve impaired renal function and structure in preclinical models of CKD.
“Dry Eye” Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or dry eye disease (DED) is an immune-mediated multifactorial disease, with high level of prevalence in humans and dogs. This disease is common in many breeds of dogs and is thought to be hereditary. To determine if a pet has KCS a Schirmer Tear Test (STT) is used to measure tear production. Normal STT values are above 15mm where a pet below 10mm is suspect and a pet with 5mm or below definitely has reduced tear production. This disease is managed by administration of artificial tears and other medications. While it can be managed, it is never cured with medications. Implanted stem cells are well tolerated and were effective reducing clinical signs of KCS in animals with STT values of 0mm – no tear production at all with a sustained effect.
Twenty-four eyes of 12 selected animals with KCS were implanted aseptically with one injection around the main lacrimal gland, and one injection of surrounding the gland of the third eyelid. These injections were able to restore normal tear production in all of these 12 dogs.