stemming the tide: stem cell therapy - part 2
Yesterday, we talked a bit about stem cell therapy and its use in veterinary medicine. And as I mentioned, there are a lot of questions and unknown answers regarding this subject.
The big question still remains: Does this really work? I don’t have this answer for you, but what I can tell you is that there is not enough research to say yes, and there is not enough research to say no. Clinically, there has been a lot of success. What does this mean?
In the clinic, veterinarians seem to be having a great deal of success using this therapy. However, there is so much variability of how this therapy is being implemented that gathering substantial data to understand its overall effectiveness has been really difficult. And there have been plenty of veterinarians that haven’t seen improvement in their patients with this therapy.
Another piece of the puzzle has to do with inflammation. It has been found that these mesenchymal stem cells can help control the body’s inflammatory response in relation to immune-mediated disorders. In other words, mesenchymal stem cells seem to be able to regulate the inflammation associated with immune-mediated disorders (think immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, inflammatory bowel disease, atopy, etc.). If this is the case, mesenchymal stem cell therapy may be a valid therapy option in these cases (most likely to be used in conjunction with other therapies, not as a sole treatment).
Although we have focused our discussion on mesenchymal stem cell therapy, please know that there are other cell lines that are also being used and/or researched for use in veterinary medicine for all sorts of therapies. This is a VERY big, exciting, new and uncertain topic of discussion in veterinary (and human) medicine.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the basics of this experimental new treatment. Stay tuned for future blogs related to this topic, as it is a constantly changing and evolving therapy.
To more waggin’ and purrin’. rwkj