Archive for the ‘VetStem Cell Therapy’ Category

Oct 12, 2018

What happens to my dog’s stem cells if I move?

For those of you who have had your dog treated with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy, you may know that we store stem cells from nearly every patient who has had a sample processed at VetStem.  Banked doses are cryopreserved and can be carefully recovered from cryopreservation should your dog require future treatments.  But what happens if you move and no longer see the veterinarian who originally treated your dog?  This is a question we have received in the past and the good news is that VetStem has trained close to 5,000 veterinarians to perform stem cell therapy and if there is not one near you then most licensed veterinarians can be trained to use VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.

Take Bowie for instance.  Bowie is a 13-year-old Japanese Chin who showed his enthusiasm for life by spinning in circles, or doing “chin spins,” as his owner called it.  He would use his left hind leg to pivot so it was no surprise that by the time he was 5 years old, he was showing signs of severe degenerative joint disease.  His veterinarian at the time, Dr. Patrick Leadbeater of Kahala Pet Hospital in Hawaii, performed surgery on Bowie’s knee and treated him with stem cells in 2010 and again in 2015.

In 2016, Bowie’s owners moved to California.  In 2018, Bowie began showing signs of arthritis once again.  Fortunately, Bowie had several stem cell doses banked.  His owners took him for a consult with their new veterinarian, Dr. Andreana Lim of McGrath Veterinary Center.  Though credentialed to perform VetStem Cell Therapy, Dr. Lim had not yet treated a stem cell patient.  In June 2018, Bowie became her first stem cell patient.  He received injections in both hips and both knees.

Our veterinarians span across the United States and Canada so if you move, we will help you find a credentialed veterinarian near you or will help a veterinarian of your choosing become VetStem credentialed.  Need to find a VetStem credentialed veterinarian near you?  Click here to receive a list of veterinarians near you.

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Aug 17, 2018

Does it matter where the fat for stem cell therapy comes from?

A very common question from veterinarians and dog owners is, “Does it matter where you take the fat from for stem cell therapy?”  The simple answer is “No” but let me explain.  (Actually, if you were the dog, you might object to my statement…)  First, why are we interested in fat anyway? This is because, of all the tissues in the body, the fat tissue is the easiest to collect (we all have extra) and it is the most rich in stem cells.  Yes, even more than bone marrow by a factor of 500X!  The fat in our bodies, and of our pets, is the richest and easiest source of these incredible regenerative cells.

So, where to take a little nip and tuck?  A very well done scientific paper analyzed the VetStem database to see if the collection location made a difference (Astor, 2013).  First, let’s define “difference.”  Scientists use statistical tests to see small differences, but for our purposes, let’s say that a difference is significant if it means we have to collect a lot more fat to get the same number of cells.  Using this definition, there is essentially no real difference between taking fat under the skin in the belly, under the skin by the shoulder, or making a small incision like in a spay and taking a sample from the abdomen.  All are essentially the same.  The paper also looked at differences by age, breed, and sex of the patient and got the same answer: there were small differences but none that really mattered.

So what is the conclusion?  You veterinarian can collect fat from any of these three locations and should be able to get a good yield of stem cells from each.  That being said, about 75% of all fat collections are from the “spay” type method of getting abdominal fat.  Even skinny dogs have fat there and it is quick and easy for both the veterinarian and the patient.  But all three methods are perfectly acceptable in the clinic and will provide a very rich source of stem cells for use in regenerative medicine.

 

References

Astor D, Hoelzler M, Harman R, Bastian R.  Patient factors influencing the concentration of stromal vascular fraction (SVF) for adipose-derived stromal cell (ASC) therapy in dogs. Can J Vet Res 2013;77:177-182.

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Apr 20, 2018

Bernese Mountain Dog Successfully Treated for Arthritis

Our stem cell success story this week hails from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  Meet Sheldon, a 4 year old Bernese mountain dog.  Sheldon suffered from pain and lameness in his front legs since he was a puppy.  His owners recognized his discomfort and took Sheldon to be examined by Dr. Robert Landry of Colorado Center for Animal Pain Management.  Dr. Landry determined that Sheldon had arthritis in both elbows as a result of Fragmented Coronoid Process (FCP).  As part of Sheldon’s treatment plan, Dr. Landry recommended VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy so in December of 2016, Sheldon received stem cell injections into each elbow and also intravenously.

Fast forward just over one year later and Sheldon’s owners remain pleased with his improvement since receiving VetStem cell therapy.  He is more active and is able to participate in some of his favorite activities once again.  His owners state they “are so happy with how the stem cells worked for him.”

You can read the rest of Sheldon’s story here.

Does your dog suffer from orthopedic pain, lameness, or discomfort?  Has your dog been diagnosed with arthritis?  If so, contact VetStem to find VetStem providers in your area.

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Apr 13, 2018

Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis: How Long Will It Last?

Dog owners frequently ask how long the effects of stem cell therapy will last for arthritic canines and whether their dog may require additional treatments in the future.  The answer is a bit more complicated than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.  Each patient is different, and several factors may affect the outcome of stem cell therapy and whether the patient will require additional treatments.

Some of these factors include the severity of the arthritis at the time of treatment and your dog’s activity level.  A running buddy might require more treatments than a couch potato.  Typically, a dog will tell you by their behavior or a change in activity level whether a joint has become more painful.

Some dogs treated with stem cells experience prolonged relief. Baxter was treated twice approximately 3.5 months apart and hasn’t required an injection since 2015.  You can read Baxter’s story here.

In data collected by VetStem, it was determined that 63% of older dogs that received VetStem Cell Therapy were not retreated in the first year while 78% of younger dogs were not retreated in the first year.  Perhaps more importantly, according to volunteered survey data from owners, greater than 80% of dogs showed an improved quality of life after treatment with stem cells.

The good news is, should your dog require additional treatments, VetStem keeps a bank of your dog’s stem cells so that they do not have to undergo an additional fat collection procedure.

If you think your dog may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, contact us here to get a list of veterinary stem cell providers in your area.

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Mar 30, 2018

Stem Cell Therapy For More Than Arthritis?

Although this blog primarily focuses on stem cells for arthritis, we thought a post about other indications for stem cells might be helpful to some.  We frequently get questions from animal owners about whether or not VetStem Cell Therapy might help with various illnesses or diseases.  Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes the answer is no.  Oftentimes, the answer is maybe.  In this blog we will cover some of the potential indications for stem cell therapy.  It is important to remember however that all of the following treatments are still in the investigational stages.  VetStem cannot guarantee that your animal will have a favorable outcome, should you decide to have him/her treated with stem cells.

Kidney Disease: This is one of the most frequent inquiries we get.  Unfortunately, many pets will experience kidney disease in their lives.  Kidney disease can be either acute (sudden onset, lasts a short time) or chronic (develops over a long period of time, may worsen over time).    Some veterinarians have treated kidney patients with VetStem Cell Therapy.  While they have seen some favorable results, more investigation is needed to confirm the effect of stem cells on patients with kidney disease.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): IBD is a group of disorders that affect the gastrointestinal tract of dogs.  This is another condition that some VetStem veterinarians have treated with stem cell therapy.  There is literature to suggest that the use of fat-derived stem cells in canine patients with IBD can lead to significant improvement and even complete remission in some cases.  Of course every patient is different and IBD can be very complicated to diagnose so it is important to ensure your dog has a complete workup before pursuing stem cell therapy as a potential treatment option.

Feline Chronic Gingivostomatitis: This is a severe oral inflammatory disease affecting felines.  Cats with this disease may experience oral pain, reduced appetite, and weight loss.  Oftentimes, these cats will need to have all of their teeth extracted and even then, some will still require lifelong medications and treatment.  VetStem Cell Therapy might provide relief.  Two small studies on cats with full mouth extractions conducted at the University of California at Davis have shown that fat-derived stem cell therapy led to improvement or remission in the majority of cats treated. A few veterinarians have seen favorable results using VetStem cell therapy however more investigation is needed.

Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH): This condition applies specifically to equines.  Many performance horses experience bleeding in their lungs following strenuous exercise.  Traditional therapy includes medications that can reduce the amount of hemorrhaging but don’t actually treat or cure the disease.  In a clinical research program conducted by VetStem, it was determined that the majority of horses treated with VetStem Cell Therapy experienced significant improvement with little to no bleeding post racing.

This is just a small list of what we consider non-standard indications that may respond to stem cell therapy.  As a reminder, these conditions are still in the investigational stages and your animal may or may not respond as expected.  If your animal is suffering from one of these conditions or a condition that is not listed here, it is best to consult with your veterinarian and contact VetStem to get more information about your animal’s specific condition.  You can also contact us here to get a list of veterinary stem cell providers in your area.

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Mar 16, 2018

Not All Stem Cell Providers Are Alike: Why Choose VetStem?

Posted by Bob under VetStem Cell Therapy

As the first company in the United States to provide an adipose-derived stem cell service to veterinarians for their patients, VetStem pioneered the use of regenerative stem cells in veterinary medicine and now holds exclusive licenses to over 50 patents including world-wide veterinary rights for use of adipose derived stem cells.  VetStem has been providing stem cell services to veterinarians since 2004 and has now provided services for over 13,000 animals.  When it became clear that stem cell therapy led to positive outcomes, additional stem cell providers began to emerge on the market.

You may have seen or heard of in-clinic stem cell processing.  These systems allow veterinarians to process their patient’s stem cells on site in their own hospital.  While this may seem like a more convenient method, there are some serious points to consider before choosing your stem cell provider.

We have compiled this helpful list to demonstrate VetStem’s high quality standards and to help you compare our services with other stem cell providers.  Some of the highlights include:

  1. VetStem technicians have years of experience with thousands of samples.  Our laboratory technicians are trained to do one job: process stem cells.  While that may seem obvious, who do you think is processing your animal’s stem cells if using an in-clinic stem cell provider at your veterinary office?  The answer is likely a veterinary technician.  Having worked in the veterinary industry for years, I can tell you with full confidence that vet techs have about 100 different jobs and often several jobs going on at the same time.  He/She may not have the time to devote to processing your pet’s stem cells without getting pulled away to help restrain an animal, process blood work, fill a prescription, or assist in surgery.  Distractions can lead to mistakes and mistakes can lead to a negative outcome in your animal’s therapy.
  2. VetStem uses sterile Bio-Safety cabinets inside hepa-filtered clean rooms.  As clean as your veterinary office may appear, you can’t get any cleaner than a “clean room” that is designed specifically to process stem cells.  We take sterility very seriously at VetStem, to the point that we may recommend delaying treatment if we feel a sample’s sterility has been compromised.
  3. VetStem determines the cell yield and viability of each sample to determine an accurate dose prior to shipment.  It only makes sense that cells are counted, viability is verified, and the correct dose is prepared before a patient receives their stem cell injection(s).  Unfortunately, the in-clinic systems do not allow for this.  So how does your veterinarian know how to divide up the stem cells to provide the proper dose(s)?  By counting cells and verifying the viability of the cells, VetStem ensures that your animal receives accurate dosing.  This helps make the stem cell therapy as effective as possible.

As you can see, we at VetStem really pride ourselves in providing the highest quality standards to all of the patients whose stem cells we process.  We want what is best for your animal and therefore do our best to provide quality service.  We pioneered this technology and we continue to work closely with the FDA to ensure we are following the current guidelines regarding stem cell therapy.  If you have any questions for our team, feel free to contact us by email or by phone.

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Feb 9, 2018

How to Talk to Your Vet About Stem Cells for Your Dog’s Arthritis

It is estimated that 1 in 5 dogs in the United States suffers from osteoarthritis (OA).  OA can present itself in many ways including stiffness, lameness, pain, and limited range of motion.  If your dog is exhibiting any symptoms that may be caused by arthritis, it is best to consult with your veterinarian about all of your treatment options, including stem cell therapy.

You may have seen our many success stories from actual VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy patients and wondered, “Would my dog benefit from this treatment?”  Or you may find yourself at the end of the road with supplements, pain medications, and/or diet changes and wondering if there are alternatives to these traditional therapies that may be more effective.  Whatever your situation may be, it is always best to research all of your options before deciding which therapy to proceed with.  In this blog, we will help you discuss stem cell therapy with your veterinarian for your arthritic canine companion.

VetStem cell therapy has been used to treat canine arthritis since 2008.  As a newer, more progressive therapy, it is not often at the forefront of your veterinarian’s mind when it comes to first-line treatments for arthritis.  Why, you might ask?  The answer is that only about 10% of practicing veterinarians have advanced training in regenerative medicine and even recent veterinary graduates have had limited exposure to regenerative stem cell medicine.  While VetStem works diligently to change this statistic, don’t be afraid to bring up VetStem cell therapy to your veterinarian if they don’t suggest it first!  Below you will find some resources to help you speak with your veterinarian about stem cell therapy which can help determine if your dog might benefit from the treatment.

First, you may want to print this letter to bring to your vet appointment, in case your veterinarian is not familiar with VetStem cell therapy.  If your veterinarian asks for evidence to support the use of stem cells for treatment of arthritis, you can reference this study which demonstrated the effectiveness of stem cell therapy in the treatment of canine arthritis of the hip.  We also have a study that evaluated stem cell therapy for the treatment of elbow arthritis in dogs.  If your veterinarian has heard of or has used VetStem cell therapy before, inquire as to whether or not he/she thinks your dog may be a good candidate for the therapy.  You can utilize this checklist to help answer this question.  Lastly, let your veterinarian know that our staff veterinarians are available to help answer any questions about stem cell therapy or about specific patients.  They can simply contact us to learn more.

Best of luck and congratulations for taking the initiative to explore stem cell therapy for your canine companion!

Jan 19, 2018

Global Leaders in Stem Cell Therapy Meet in San Francisco

Last week the largest gathering in the world on healthcare convened in San Francisco. The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) held its annual “State of the Industry” talk that reviewed 2017 and previewed 2018. It was, without doubt, the most exciting such update since ARM began this briefing.

The briefing on 2017 showed not one, but three cell therapy approvals! Although these cell therapies are directed at cancer therapy, they are cell therapy and showed that the FDA is willing to fast-track really legitimate new cell products. Perhaps more exciting to us in the adult stem cell area is the recommendation by a European Medicines committee to approve the first adipose-derived stem cell therapy for human Crohn’s Disease! This is the same type of cell therapy product that VetStem is testing for approval in veterinary medicine. This would be a first in Europe for people!

The briefing also previewed 2018 with the prospect for more approvals and they stated they expect 40 new cell products in the next five years.

VetStem is proud to be in the forefront in bringing cell therapy into the hands of the practicing veterinarian and we are grateful to the many owners who have trusted VetStem to provide Regenerative Cell Therapy for arthritis and tendon and ligament injuries for their beloved animals.

You can watch the Cell & Gene Therapies State of the Industry Briefing here.

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Jun 6, 2014

Stem cells: How do they work?

Ready for a little more detail on how stem cells can work?  Great!

Stem cells are kind of multi-purpose, so how they work depends on the particular need.  Ben has volunteered as our example.  Let’s say Ben, being a Border Collie, is so focused on chasing a frisbie that he fails to see the fence in his pathway.  He crashes into the fence Read the rest of this entry »

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May 28, 2014

What are Stem Cells – The Skinny

Ben, my Border Collie buddy, was searching for a simple explanation of what are stem cells.  Hard to decide if you want them for those sore joints or a torn tendon unless you know a little bit about them!

BenHeadTiltSo here is the skinny version.  Stem cells are the natural repair cells of your body, and in the body of your furry buddies.  All animals have them and they are the way we repair injuries such as a torn ligament or a broken bone.  Scientists have been researching these amazing little cells for decades and we know quite a lot about how they do their job.  Click here for a cute video I found on the internet that discusses stem cells and how they function.  It is a little out dated as far as sources of stem cells but educational none-the-less.  I’ll talk about sources in another blog.

The main jobs these stem cells perform are:

Reduce inflammation

Reduce scar tissue

Reduce pain

Repair damage

They are like paramedics…..they rush to the scene of an accident, decide who needs help first, and reduce the damage or injury severity.  Then they call in the doctors and specialists to get the real regeneration job done.

BenFetch1These guardians are located everywhere in the body and are small, unspecialized cells.  Unlike a heart or liver cell, a stem cell can function to repair all the tissues of the body.  They can help repair a ligament, a tendon, cartilage in your joint, or a burn wound.

So there you have the skinny version.  Next post, I will talk a bit more about how these amazing cells actually do their repair.  If you are interested in reading more on the science of stem cells check out this page.

Hope I didn’t put you to sleep.  I think Ben has had enough education for the day…he is ready for a fetch session (I think I fetch as much as he does)!

See you next post!

Dr. Harman

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