Horses Obtain Better Stem Cell Medicine than Humans

Thanks to the present restrictive state of medical regulation, horses have been getting better treatments than people for a few years now: "Take the case of SandSunSea, a 3-year-old colt by the late Pleasant Tap, bought for about $90,000 at a yearling sale in Canada. His trainer, Roger Attfield, elected not to try racing him at age 2. 'He was a horse that I gave time to because he was a big growing boy,' Attfield said. At 3, the colt was coming along nicely but then suffered a torn flexor tendon in his right front leg. 'He was just about ready to run when this happened.' ... Such an injury normally would take nine months to a year to recover from, and the horse might re-injure himself once he finally goes back into training. Attfield turned to stem-cell therapy. He shipped the horse from Payson Park training center in Florida to Woodford Equine Hospital in Versailles, where Dr. Joe Yocum removed a bit of the horse's tissue one morning in March. At the MediVet labs, which opened earlier this year in Nicholasville, 1.2 billion stem cells were pulled from 30 grams of fat taken from SandSunSea. ... That afternoon some of the cells were injected back into SandSunSea's leg. (The rest are stored frozen at the MediVet lab in case more treatments are needed one day.) The results surprised even Yocum, who is a partner in MediVet America, one of a handful of companies around the world that offer stem-cell therapy to veterinarians. 'I went back after two weeks and scanned him and could hardly even find the lesion. He looks perfect, really.' Normally it might take four months for the lesion to gradually disappear, he said. 'This thing was practically obliterated in two weeks.'"



I would rather regard promising informal research like this (and similar stuff in dogs, on which you'reve reported in the past) as useful additions to preclinical data in support of future human therapies. Animal experiments are necessary to establish safety and efficacy; informal use of therapies to help out aging companion animals not only draws in humans emotionally more than mice do, but provides a way to finance preclinical research, expands the range of species in which something has been tested (to avoid species-specific artifacts), allows for therapies to be tested under meaningful, real-world conditions (vs. lab rodents who've lived their whole lives in cages, who are often young, and who are often being healed of artificially-induced problems instead of ones accumulated thru' aging or "wear and tear"). Better to try them out on Fido and Fluffy, before moving on to Frank and Flora.

Posted by: Michael at July 22nd, 2011 7:02 AM

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