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VMTH Implements Regenerative Medicine to Treat Injuries

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Dr. Larry Galuppo prepares to inject millions of stem cells into a horse suffering from joint damage.

April 4, 2013 - Regenerative medicine, more commonly referred to as “stem cell research and treatment,” is making great strides in the veterinary field. This area of investigation focuses on using healthy regenerative cells to repair tissue or organs that have been damaged by injury or disease. To treat such cases, stem cells can be taken from other animals or, ideally, from that same animal. Autologous sources (from the same animal) are ideal since they essentially eliminate the risk of rejection from the host body. The most common tissue sources for obtaining autologous stem cells are from bone marrow and adipose tissue (fat cells). The retrieved adult stem cells are then injected into the injured or diseased area to help encourage the damaged tissue to repair itself.
At the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH), regenerative medicine is focused on adult stem cells (not to be confused with the controversial embryonic stem cell research) being utilized to treat tendon and ligament injuries in horses and dogs. That work is multidisciplinary and coordinated with several other UC Davis departments including the School of Medicine, the College of Biological Sciences and the Department of Biomedical Engineering. This synergistic approach allows our veterinary medicine researchers to collaborate with others focused on finding new cures for injuries and diseases, both in veterinary and human medicine.
“Perhaps the greatest asset to our regenerative medicine research is our ongoing collaboration with the Institute of Regenerative Cures (at the UC Davis School of Medicine),” states Dr. Larry Galuppo, Chief of Equine Surgery. “Experts in veterinary and human medicine are working together to solve many of the diseases and injuries that animals and people have in common.”
This team of researchers combines the talent, skill and knowledge of more than two dozen research and clinical faculty throughout the university. Together, the knowledge and experience of all these scientists provides leadership, creativity and optimism for developing stem cell therapies to treat animals and humans.

Currently, the VMTH is offering stem cell therapies for both equine and canine patients. UC Davis is pleased to work with referring veterinarians on determining the optimal source and administration method for individual therapeutic applications. To discuss regenerative medicine options for your patients, please contact the Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Laboratory at 530-754-0400 or Dr. Galuppo through the Large Animal Clinic at 530-752-0290.

Rob Warren, VMTH Communication & Marketing Officer