Sunday, March 2, 2008

Stem cell therapy for dogs

Veterinarians are pioneers in the practical use of stem cells. In the race to perfect "regenerative medicine," stem cell therapy for animals is ahead of treatment for humans because it is not so strictly regulated. It's not experimental -- it's here. And while the debate rages over the ethics of embryonic stem cell research, doctors have made stunning progress with "adult" stem cells recovered from body fat. They are less powerful than embryonic cells, but they don't require the destruction of an embryo. There are no side effects and no problems with rejection, because the patient is also the cell donor. It takes almost 24 hours to send fat cells to a remote laboratory and return them for reinjection. Veterinarians remove about 30 grams of fat, pack up the cells and whisk them away to the Vet-Stem laboratory outside San Diego where this procedure has been developed. At Vet-Stem, the fat cells are chopped up, treated and put in a centrifuge that separates the stem cells. Stem cells show great promise for healing animal joints, hearts, livers and kidneys … and perhaps, in the future, humans. Hopefully one day, stem cells will be injected into human stroke and heart attack victims, and maybe even used to regenerate damaged spinal cords within hours of injury. A large selection of vets have been using this treatment successfully for years. The results have been outstanding and the therapy has helped many beloved dogs feel like pups again. Source: ABC News

1 comment:

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