An Advanced Approach to Treating Arthritis
The unique ability of stem cells to mature into cells with specialized functions makes them useful for repairing certain body tissues damaged by injury or disease. The Animal Medical Center is now harnessing the power of these cells by offering stem cell therapy for the treatment of chronic arthritis. The AMC is offering this service through a partnership with Vet-Stem, Inc., an innovator in veterinary regenerative cell medicine.
Stem cell therapy uses an animal’s own primitive (stem) cells which are capable of dividing and differentiating into a variety of cell types (such as cartilage, bone, or muscle). In areas of injury or disease, stem cells respond to signaling to allow healing and promote regeneration of injured tissues. The most common clinical application for stem cell therapy is currently chronic arthritis.
The process involves three key steps over a three-day period:
- Day One: The veterinarian collects a small fat sample from the patient (from the shoulder, inner thigh, or abdomen) during a short surgical procedure. The sample is shipped overnight to the Vet-Stem laboratory in San Diego, California.
- Day Two: Vet-Stem processes the fat sample to concentrate the stem cells. The stem cells are shipped overnight back to The AMC in ready-to-inject syringes.
- Day Three: The veterinarian injects the stem cells into the patient at the injured site (for example, into arthritic joints).
Vet-Stem, Inc. is also developing protocols to use stem cell technology as therapy for other conditions in the near future, such as cerebral and myocardial infarction and immune-mediated, renal, neurologic, and hepatic diseases.
Stem cell therapy at The AMC is being directed by Dr. Pamela Schwartz. A Staff Surgeon at The Animal Medical Center, Dr. Schwartz received her board certification in 2008. She has an interest in stem cell therapy and became credentialed in Vet-Stem Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy in October 2007.
The AMC has used stem cell therapy to treat several dogs with pain associated with chronic osteoarthritis. The best results have been noted in dogs that had been experiencing a high level of pain that could not be relieved with medication.
To find out if your dog is a candidate for stem cell therapy, contact the appointment desk at 212-838-7053 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schwartz.
Read an article from the New York Post on stem cell therapy.
Read a behind the scenes account of stem cell surgery at The AMC.