Horses are high performance athletes, and like people they push the envelope of their physical capacity when they compete.
One very common occurrence among equine athletes is the presence of blood in their lungs (called exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage or EIPH) after very strenuous exercise. EIPH occurs in the majority of Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses to some extent, as well as other breeds that are required to perform very strenuous exercise in the athletic disciplines that they love (i.e., barrel racing Quarter Horses).
During the past 4 decades, furosemide (Lasix) has been used before racing, to try to prevent EIPH. Studies have shown that furosemide works temporarily. However, with much controversy about the well-being of horses and pressures to implement new drug rules, furosemide might be gradually phased out as an allowable pre-competition drug to prevent bleeding episodes.
VetStem believes that stem cell therapy applied to horses having suffered from bleeding episodes might help limit tissue damage and potentially restore lung tissue to a healthier more normal state. Fresh adipose-derived stem and regenerative cells (called SVF or Stromal Vascular Fraction) contain endothelial cells, perivascular cells, fibroblasts, mesenchymal cells, and immune cells (such as lymphocytes and macrophages). These cells help reduce inflammation and promote blood vessel formation (angiogenesis). Helping heal the damaged tissue and trying to prevent future bleeding episodes could dramatically benefit the individual athlete horse’s health and well-being.
VetStem’s history started in the equine world twelve years ago, as the first company to ever offer a service to provide fat derived stem cell therapy for use to help repair soft tissue, tendon and ligament injuries in the horse. Many horses with tendon or ligament injuries have gone back to full activity thanks to stem cell therapy technology.
Two preliminary cases (One thoroughbred race horse and one quarter horse barrel racer) have already been successfully treated for EIPH in the past year with adipose-derived SVF and culture-expanded adipose stem cells. Neither horse has demonstrated evidence of recurrent EIPH. In an effort to gather additional data for the treatment of this relatively common problem in the performance horse, VetStem is asking its most experienced clients to participate in research program to help gather initial outcome data about stem cell therapy for the treatment of EIPH in the horse.
The program starts now and will recruit cases until the end of 2015. The program has a limit for participation to no more than a hundred horses. The data collected will be prepared for publication, and if results are positive will be the basis for a larger EIPH project.
“This is the second significant clinical research program to be implemented since beginning my role at VetStem Biopharma earlier this year. I am excited that we are moving forward exploring new indications for use of cell therapy. With 25 years of experience in equine medicine, and having treated over 800 patients with adipose derived stem cells, I see many promising therapeutic developments. With each research program, VetStem is moving closer to finding new solutions for unmet patient needs. We are also looking forward to expanding our collaboration with veterinary practitioners and academic institutions nationwide to work together on how to best utilize the healing power of stem cells,” said Dr Ross Rich, Director of Clinical Development at VetStem Biopharma.
About VetStem Biopharma
VetStem Biopharma is a veterinarian lead company that was formed in 2002 to bring regenerative medicine to the profession. This privately held biopharmaceutical enterprise, based near San Diego (California), currently offers veterinarians an autologous stem cell processing service (from patients’ own fat tissue) among other regenerative modalities. With a unique expertise acquired over the past 12 years and 11,000 patients treated by veterinarians for joint, tendon or ligament issues, VetStem has made regenerative medicine applications a therapeutic reality beyond the realm of research. The VetStem team is focused on developing new clinically practical and affordable veterinary solutions that leverage the natural restorative abilities present in all living creatures. The company’s stated mission being “to extend and enhance the lives of animals by improving the quality of recovery in acute conditions, but also by unlocking ways to slow, stop and ultimately revert the course of chronic diseases.” In addition to its’ own portfolio of patents, Vet-Stem holds exclusive global veterinary licenses to a portfolio of over 55 issued patents in the field of regenerative medicine.