Having a direct experience with stem cell treatment, I am always excited to see new studies done.
UF College of Veterinary Medicine received funding for two studies on use of stem cell therapy as an alternative to surgery for treatment of chronic degenerative joint disease in dogs.
Jasmine's treatment was done with her own stem cells, derived from her fat tissue. After the initial amount was used up, new stem cells were cultured from a retaining sample.
In these studies, stem cells will be collected from healthy donor dogs.
I am not entirely sure why the patients' own stem cells cannot be used, such as in Jasmine's case. The rest of the treatment seems the same—the stem cells will be injected into a knee suffering osteoarthritis as a result of a ruptured cruciate ligament. They will also evaluate whether stem cell injections in the other leg, where the cruciate ligament typically ruptures sooner or later as well, can delay or prevent this from happening. (In Jasmine's case it did delay it some but it did not prevent it. But the ligament was already stretched at that time also)
Another study will evaluate stem cell treatment of osteoarthritis secondary to elbow dysplasia.
UF veterinarians are currently seeking up to 60 dogs to participate in the study.
I hope to find out why the donor dogs are needed for this study and I am curious to see the results of the study. Jasmine benefited greatly from her stem cell treatments, but we did also repair the knees surgically as well. (Besides that she got injected into her shoulders and elbows and received IV stem cells as well, because she had arthritis in multiple locations as well as in the neck and jaws.) I believe that because of the treatments Jasmine enjoyed quality of life she wouldn't have otherwise and I am very happy we decided to do that for her.
I feel that if there is a mechanical issue, there is only so much stem cells could do without the issue being corrected. I compare it to a rock in a shoe. You can treat the blisters all you want but the best idea is to remove the rock first.
That is not to say that the stem cell treatment won't improve the situation. Will it cure it? That remains to be seen.
I do hope, though, that the studies bring some exciting results and if not, that it won't discourage further studies.
Anyone seeking more information about the UF stem cell studies in dogs can contact Mary Bohannon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-294-4639.
UF veterinarians seek dogs for stem cell studies to treat chronic orthopedic disease