Stem Cell/PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Therapy
Stem cell therapy is often referred to as regenerative medicine, a technique that enables the body to repair and regenerate damaged tissues. This unique small stem cell can differentiate or develop into all types of tissue. The technique only involves a simple blood draw.
We utilize potent (pluripotent) stem cells derived from the patient’s own blood (rather than multi-potent stem cells from fat or bone marrow). There is no anesthesia or surgery. The blood sample is submitted overnight to a special lab and processed. In 3-5 days the sample is ready.
We also utilize Platelet Rich Plasma(PRP) which helps to decrease inflammation and activate the cells to start the regeneration process. The sample can be injected intravenously, intra-articular (in the joint), or in acupuncture points near the affected area.
Stem Cells are unspecialized cells that are capable of renewing themselves though cell division. Under certain conditions, they can become a specific tissue or organ cell. In many tissues, stem cells serve as an internal repair system, replacing damaged or dead tissues by reproducing and turning into the needed cells.
Stem cell therapy commonly refers to the process of placing stem cells from the body into diseased or damaged tissues, such as a torn ligament in the knee or perhaps an arthritic joint.
There are two different kinds of stem cells: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. In veterinary medicine, adult stem cells can be found in all tissues in a pet’s body, including bone marrow and adipose (fat) tissue. Adult stem cells are capable of repair and regeneration of various tissues because they have the potential to differentiate into specialized cells of an organ.
Stem cells can differentiate into blood vessel, bone, cardiac, cartilage, fat, ligament, liver, muscle, nerve, and tendon tissue. Stem cells can currently be obtained from the bone marrow and fat (adipose) tissue in dogs, cats, and horses.
What conditions can be treated with stem cell therapy?
The most common use of stem cell therapies has been in the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs and cats. Other potential uses include repairing bone, ligament, and spinal cord injuries and treating kidney and liver disease, cardiomyopathies (a form of heart disease), and certain inflammatory diseases of the skin and gut. Although these other uses are largely hypothetical at this time, clinical research into the use of stem cells to treat these conditions is ongoing.
Cancer treatment with stem cells is not considered appropriate because of the risk of causing the cancer to worsen, grow, or spread more rapidly if stem cells are introduced.
Because the stem cells are from your pet, there is little risk of reaction or rejection. Any injection into a joint or tendon involves some risk of inflammation, infection, or injury. Your pet's specific risk factors will be discussed with you before treatment.
Currently, there are no current guidelines with respect to stem cell therapy; however, the American Veterinary Medical Association is encouraging the study of stem cell therapy but cautions its use in clinical practice. The North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Association was created as a resource to share information related to stem cell therapy and research.
How can I tell if stem cell therapy will help my pet’s condition?
The decision to use stem cell therapy is complicated. It is based on your pet's specific condition, age, breed, previous treatment and response, severity and duration. The laboratory providing the stem cells will also be consulted to help determine if your pet is a suitable candidate.
Stem cell therapy should only be performed by a veterinarian with special training, who understands the benefits and limits of this therapy.
Unfortunately, there is currently no definitive way to predict which pets will benefit from stem cell therapy. Some patients respond favorably only to relapse in the future. Other patients experience remarkable improvement soon after treatment, while for others, it may take months for any appreciable changes to occur.
It is important to have realistic expectations as positive outcomes cannot be guaranteed. It is important to consider what other proven scientific treatments are available and if stem cell therapy is the best course of action for a pet. How long does it take to work?
How Long Does it Take to Work?
Some patients will show improvement within several days, while others will require several weeks before any changes are seen. It is important to note that not all patients treated with stem cells will respond positively. Stem cell therapy can be repeated in cases where poor to no improvement is observed.
Platelet Rich Plasma
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is another method of regenerative medicine that has been utilized more commonly in human sports orthopedic treatments. PRP contains growth factors and bioactive proteins that accelerate healing and can reduce inflammation. This treatment involves a blood draw and then injections in the affected area. The treatment offers an affordable natural alternative to drugs and steroids.
For more information on Stem Cells and PRP visit Prepvet.com
Dr. Jyl Rubin DVM (916) 989-0738