At his home on the New Jersey shore, Higgins was suffering from age-related arthritis. A 9-year-old Golden Retriever, he then underwent a veterinary procedure at the Toms River Animal Hospital in which his own adult canine stem cells were used as his therapy. Now, Higgins is once again pain-free and back to his regular self.
According to veterinarian Dr. Michele Reimer, “In animals, it’s definitely an up-and-coming field and it’s going to open up a lot of treatment approaches for us. It opens another avenue of treatment for the dog. If we can help a dog not need medications long-term, that’s a huge benefit.”
The stem cells were harvested from the adipose (fat) tissue of the dog’s belly on Monday, shipped to the biotech company Vet-Stem in San Diego, and returned to the clinic in New Jersey by Wednesday, at which time the cells were injected directly into the dog’s arthritic joints.
According to Julie Ryan Johnson, vice president of sales and marketing for Vet-Stem, “The procedure has been shown to help with the range of motion, helps get muscle structure back, helps the dog feel better and improves their quality of life, and they often interact with the family more. It’s a very interesting way to use stem cells because the stem cells actually come from the animal’s own fat, so it’s not controversial.”
As previously reported a number of times on this website, the company Vet-Stem continues to see consistently high success rates in both canine and equine clinical trials, with an 80% efficacy rate and a 100% safety rate in the animals that are treated with Vet-Stem’s autologous adult stem cell procedure. In other words, 80% of the animals treated are found to experience improvement in their condition with a reduction and often a full elimination of the need for medication, while adverse side effects have not been reported in any of the treated animals.
Vet-Stem uses exclusively adult stem cells, derived from each animal’s own tissue. Since the cells are autologous (in which the donor and recipient are the same animal), there is no risk of immune rejection. More specifically, the stem cells that are harvested in Vet-Stem’s procedure are mesenchymal stem cells, which are highly potent adult stem cells that are also found in bone marrow and umbilical cord blood. Numerous scientific and clinical studies have been published in the peer-reviewed medical literature detailing the regenerative properties of mesenchymal stem cells. No embryonic stem cells are ever used in Vet-Stem’s therapies, since embryonic stem cells are highly problematic in the laboratory, whether they are of human or non-human origin. Among other problems, the risk of teratoma (tumor) formation disqualifies embryonic stem cells for use as a clinical therapy, even in animals. Adult stem cells, however, do not pose such risks and are therefore rapidly accumulating a consistent history of successful clinical treatments in veterinary, as well as in human, medicine.