The South Australian company Vet Biotechnology, Ltd., has successfully treated the race horse known as Viz Vitae for a severe tendon injury. In the past, such an injury would have resulted in the immediate retirement of a race horse, but instead, Viz Vitae is now back on the race course, and winning races once again, after being treated with a stem cell therapy that used his own adult stem cells.
According to Vet Biotechnology managing director, David Brigland, “In the case of Viz Vitae, he would have been retired. When you have these injuries, the tendons fill with scar tissue, which is inflexible and the tendon no longer has its mechanical power-generating capacity. What we’re trying to do is return a fully functioning tendon by regrowing the tendon cells, and return it to its normal function.”
The procedure was developed by the Royal Veterinary College of London, and has been tested since July of 2005 by Vet Biotechnology in 50 race horses, 36 of which have returned to racing, and 18 of which have won races. The cost of the procedure is $5,500, which proved to be a good investment in the case of Viz Vitae, who, after receiving the stem cell therapy, went on to win $110,000 for his owners.
According to veterinarian Dr. Campbell Baker, “Early results to date in terms of returning injured horses to the racetrack have been nothing short of stunning. This horse suggests to us at Lindsay Park that no matter how severe the tendon injury, stem cells promise a complete regeneration of the damaged tissue.”
Although Vet Biotechnology currently specializes in tendon and ligament regeneration, it is gradually moving into the market for bone treatment. As Dr. Baker explains, “At this stage what we can say is the cells we were able to expand into massive doses have been proven to create bone and cartilage.”
Vet Biotechnology, Ltd., is traded in Australia on the Newcastle Stock Exchange.