Stem Cell Therapy

Since 2003, Stem Cells have been utilized by small and large animal Veterinarians for the treatment of orthopedic cases world wide. Traditional services provided a mail in program whereas cells could be processed and sent back to the practitioner for reintroduction to the patient. Since then, innovation and improvements to various segments have driven a more wide commercial appeal for the service.

With improved on-site technology Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle utilizes an in-clinic system which allows for a same day harvest and application to the patient. This eliminates the variability in outside shipping of the sample, dramatically reduces the costs of the treatment and allows for the best in viability eliminating the potential of cell death.

Stem cells are the body’s repair cells. They have the potential to divide and differentiate into many different types of cells. Stem cells have the ability to differentiate into tissues such as skin, fat, muscle, bone, cartilage, and nerve to name a few.

What are the Types of Stem Cells?

There are two basic types of stem cells; embryonic and somatic (adult).

Embryonic stem cells are found in the embryo. These cells are called totipotent or pluripotent, which means they have the ability to reproduce into any mature cell type. While embryonic stem cells were thought to offer the greatest potential in differentiating into any mature cell type, there are obviously moral and ethical concerns with harvesting these cells. They also have a propensity to develop into teratomas, a type of tumor, which is a major safety concern. The second type of stem cell is the adult stem cell. These stem cells are multipotent, which means they can still differentiate into multiple different tissues, but unlike embryonic stem cells, they do not develop into teratomas. Due to this, adult stem cells have a major safety advantage over embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells are found in organs and tissues, such as bone marrow, adipose tissue (fat), skin, liver, blood vessels, and neurons. There are no moral or ethical concerns with harvesting adult stem cells from a patient, activating them, and reintroducing them back into the patient.

Why Does Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle Use Adipose Tissue?

Adult stem cells are highly concentrated in adipose tissue (fat). Fat is also readily available in large quantities and easily accessible. The technique to acquire the stem cell is less invasive and less painful than aspirating a bone marrow sample from the hip or the sternum. There are up to 1,000 times more stem cells in a gram of fat than in a gram of bone marrow. At this concentration and with MediVet’s patented technology, the procedure provides an abundance of stem cells to treat in-clinic, same day without the need and additional expense of an outside culturing facility.

The extraction is less invasive than a spay and very easy to obtain. Stem cells are extracted from the fat among a mixture of cells termed the Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF).

The SVF is rich in complementary cells and bioactive peptides that contribute to cell proliferation and tissue regeneration, and also imparts anti-inflammatory effects.

Banking Stem Cells 101

Why Cryogenically Bank Stem Cells?

Stem cell banking with MediVet Lab Services provides the opportunity to repeat stem cell injections using first generation adipose‐derived stem cells. This eliminates the need to repeat the process of re‐harvesting adipose tissue. MediVet Labs uses a controlled rate freezing apparatus in conjunction with vapor‐phase nitrogen for cryogenic banking. Storing stem cells on an initial procedure should always be an option especially for younger pets. This will provide a ‘peace of mind’ to the owners of animals who may see either a relapse in symptoms or who are prone to other conditions that adipose‐derived stem cells may help to improve. Please visit www.medivetlabs.com/cryobanking for more information on MediVet Lab Services banking procedures.

MediVet’s Veterinary Stem Cell Therapy…Q&A for Pet Owners

What is MediVet Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cells are powerful healing cells in your body that can become other types of cells. There are many adult stem cells in fat tissue, however they are asleep. MediVet’s stem cell therapy allows your vet to isolate stem cells from an animal’s own fat tissue, wake them up, and reinject them directly into damaged areas. For example, in the case of arthritis, stem cells become new cartilage cells, thus reducing pain and increasing mobility.

What is so great about Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cells treat the source of the problem by becoming new tissue to replace damaged tissue. Other treatments, such as NSAIDs, merely attempt to reduce symptoms. The treatment is very low risk, because it uses the animal’s own stem cells. With MediVet’s technology, over 95% of animals treated show improvement.

How long has this been available?

Stem cell therapy for animals has been commercially available since 2004. MediVet started selling their kits in the US in 2010, to clinics on the mainland, and thousands of animals have been treated around the world. A MediVet representative now lives in Hawaii and began introducing it to clinics here in 2012.

I’ve heard about other stem cell companies. Which one is best?

For pet owners, there are two main advantages to MediVet. First, the processing is all done in your vet’s office, so you don’t need to worry about losing your sample during shipping, or the sample heating up and getting damaged. Also, MediVet allows your vet to do the entire procedure in one day, making it very convenient for you and your pet. While all companies are equally safe, MediVet has the highest reported success rate of greater than 95%. When comparing side by side, vets chose MediVet because of the superior results.

Is it safe?

Yes, this procedure is very safe. The biggest risk is using anesthetic, to remove the fat tissue. On a typical dog, this is easier than a spay, and the fat is collected in about 15 minutes by your vet. Processing the sample is done carefully by a highly trained MediVet representative (or by a lab tech carefully trained by that representative). In the thousands of animals treated, we have not observed any negative side-effects from MediVet’s stem cell therapy.

What happens to my pet when they come in for stem cell therapy?

First, your vet will put your pet under general anesthetic. Then, he/she will make a small incision and collect 2-4 tablespoons of fat (either in the belly or behind the shoulder blades). Since your pet is under anesthetic, this is a great opportunity to do anything else needed – spay/neuter, or dental for example. Your local, highly trained MediVet representative will then process the sample, right in the clinic, using MediVet equipment. After about 3 hours, the cells are ready for injection into areas of damage. In addition, some cells are administered IV. For the administration step, your pet will either not sedated at all, locally anesthetized with ethyl chloride spray, or lightly sedated, depending on what’s best for your pet. You can pick up your pet later that same day.

What is the recovery period, and how long does it take to see results?

We recommend that the patient be kept quiet for the first 10 days. Then, while they may feel a lot better, you will need to be careful so your pet doesn’t injure themselves until they build up some of their muscles. Swimming and walking in water is great therapy. We typically see improvement starting after 3 weeks, and then continuing up to around 2 months.

What conditions do you treat?

Our typical patient has osteoarthritis (hip dysplasia, degenerative joint disease, calcifications, common degeneration and inflammation), soft tissue injuries (cruciate injuries, tears, ruptures, inflammation), or needs accelerated healing of fractures. We know a lot about these conditions, and over 95% of these patients get better, with MediVet’s Stem Cell Therapy.

We also treat other cases under “compassionate use”. We know less about these conditions, but are seeing some exciting results. Some of those conditions are: degenerative myelopathy, feline gingivitis, end-stage renal disease, liver and kidney failure, allergy, auto-immune, inflammatory bowel disease, pulmonary fibrosis, IMHA, atopy, and spine trauma. Please talk to your vet if you have questions about any of these conditions.

How long does a treatment last? What happens if my pet starts having trouble again?

We typically see about 1-3 years of relief after the initial treatment. Most pet owners chose to bank cells, so retreatment is easy. MediVet has a banking facility in Kentucky. If symptoms return, your vet merely requests a dose of cells from the bank, and injects them. No surgery is necessary.

Are there any animals that you don’t treat?

Yes. Because we don’t know exactly what happens when cancer patients are treated with stem cells based on human studies, we do not treat those patients.