03 May, 2009
Watching our 13 year old pug – Mackenzie – hobble out into the yard for his daily outdoor exercise has often made me wonder if there was a cure for some of his ailments. Stem cell research for humans represents a promising new field of “regenerative medicine” but how about for animals? According to ABC news and their article: A Dog’s Stem Cell Life, “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!”
In addition to embryonic stem cell research, doctors can now use adult stem cells recovered from body fat. The advantage here is that there are no side effects and rejection issues are non-existent as the patient is also the cell donor. Ailments such as hip dysplasia are now being treated by taking body fat from anywhere on the body, separating its stem cells and then re-injecting them into the hip in greater concentrations than normal.
Since the stem cells come from the host there is little controversy over how they are harvested and subsequently no red tape hindering its growth potential. “Stem cells show great promise for healing animal joints, hearts, livers and kidneys and also have the potential to regenerate damaged spinal cords within hours of injury”.
This is exciting news as there is now hope for dogs like Mackenzie whose age related injuries can now be relieved.