Stem Cell Therapy
What Is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cell therapy has been used in equine medicine worldwide for over a decade, and is now available for use in dogs and cats. Stem cells are the body’s own healing cells. They are found in many tissues in the body, but some of the largest numbers are actually found in adipose (fat) tissue. The stem cells found in adipose tissue are mesenchymal stem cells. These cells are able to help the body heal itself by differentiating into a variety of tissue types. Mesenchymal stem cells can differentiate into several tissue types, including tendon, muscle, bone, ligaments, etc. Stem cells work by not only differentiating into new cells, but also by interacting with the other cells in the environment. Stem cells recruit resident stem cells, secrete cytokines and growth factors and promote blood vessel development and tissue remodeling.
Collecting and Processing Stem Cells
By collaborating with Tissue Genesis, Inc, Lake Olympia Animal Hospital is able to process adipose tissue and isolate stem cells within our surgery suite. The fat sample is harvested from the falciform ligament through a small abdominal incision under general anesthesia. Approximately 30-60 g of fat is collected, which is about 2-4 tablespoons. The fat sample is minced and then placed into the Icellator cell isolation instrument. Once in the instrument, the fat digestion and centrifugation process takes about an hour. Post processing testing includes cell counts and a viability assay. The stem cells are then injected back into the patient. A C-arm with fluoroscopy (real time x-ray) is used to verify placement of the stem cell injection directly into the affected joint. Depending on the joint location, the patient may be sedated or placed under general anesthesia to re-inject the stem cells.
What Does Stem Cell Therapy Treat?
- Soft tissue injury – muscle damage, ligament or tendon damage
Other Potential Uses
- Neurologic Disease
- Liver Disease
- Autoimmune Disease