16th March 2006
Stem Cell Therapy
A major advance
Adelaide-based animal health company Vet Biotechnology is in the process of satisfying the final regulatory requirements prior to marketing an adult stem cell therapy for the treatment of tendon and ligament injuries in horses.
“This therapy offers the opportunity to regenerate tendons and ligaments by minimising scar tissue that leads to a poor repair, when using traditional methods to bring horses back to training and competition,” said highly respected South Australian veterinarian Dr Campbell Baker.
“In the treatment of tendon injuries, bone marrow, which contains stem cells, will be taken from the injured horse’s sternum and forwarded to an Adelaide-based laboratory where cells specific for tendons will be cultured.
“After culture and enhancement, the cells are returned to the attending veterinarian who will inject the suspension directly into the damaged area.”
Dr Baker said the technology, which was developed in Great Britain, went into use in Europe in 2003 and has been producing extremely encouraging results.
“Of particular interest to breeders with respect to this technology, may be its potential in relation to skeletal disorders such as bone cysts and other problems,” he said.
“Of further interest to breeders is the news that Vet Biotechnology, in collaboration with the University of South Australia and the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, is working to develop a ‘rattles’ vaccine and diagnostic test.
“Every breeder would agree that if this comes to fruition an enormous improvement in foal health will have been achieved.”