What is stem cell therapy?
All animals are born with stem cells. Stem cells are the repair cells a body generates. They have the ability to divide and differentiate into many different types of cells based on where they are needed throughout the body. Stem cells can divide and turn into tissues such as skin, fat, muscle, bone, cartilage, and nerve to name a few. They even possess the ability to replicate into organs such as the heart, liver, intestines, pancreas, etc. In short, stem cells are able to become the tissue they need to be in whatever microenvironment they are placed. Dr. Knox is your Escondido veterinarian who is well versed in stem cell therapy.
What are the different types of stem cells?
Stem cells can be broken down into two basic types; embryonic and somatic (adult).
Embryonic stem cells are found in the placenta and embryo. These cells are called totipotent, meaning that they have the ability to reproduce into any mature cell type. While embryonic stem cells offer the greatest potential in healing, there are obviously moral and ethical concerns in harvesting these cells.
The second type of stem cell is the adult stem cell. These stem cells are called multipotent, which means they can differentiate into closely related cell lines. Multipotent stem cells are not capable of creating a complete organ. Adult stem cells are found in the bone marrow, adipose tissue (fat), skin, liver, blood vessels, and neurons (nervous tissue). Fortunately, there are no moral or ethical concerns in harvesting these cells, activating them, and reintroducing them back to the patient in areas where healing and regeneration is needed.
So why do we take the cells from adipose (fat) tissue?
Adult stem cells are highly concentrated in the fat tissue. There are 50 to 1,000 times more stem cells in the fat than the bone marrow. At this concentration, it is no longer necessary to culture the stem cells to acquire the necessary cell numbers to make a healing impact. The procedure that Dr. Knox uses to extract fat from the patient is much quicker and less invasive than a spay. The stem cells are contained within a pool of cells in the fat termed the Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF). The SVF may impart anti-inflammatory effects, add bioactive peptides, and contribute to reformation and architectural organization. These are benefits lost once stem cells are cultured.
So what can we do with the stem cells?
Adult stem cells are capable of dividing into many different cell types. With this capability, we can use them as a treatment for joint injuries, ligament and tendon damage, and fractured bones. Research and clinical trials currently support the use of stem cells in these conditions. Ongoing research is targeting other areas of the body for treatment and the preliminary results are very encouraging. Some of these research areas that Dr. Knox is very excited about are Diabetes Mellitus, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, & Atopy (severe allergies).
So what makes MediVet America's technology better?
Dr. Knox uses a technique developed by MediVet America, a leader in stem cell technology. This technology uses a patented LED process and incorporates Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) - the same treatment used by many sports professionals. The MediVet America process is able to acquire the most living stem cells of any company currently offering this technology. If your beloved pet is going to have to endure the surgical procedure, we want to make sure they are going to get the most out of it! Together with Dr. Knox, you may also consider Cryobanking, where you can store extra cells from the procedure for future use.
So how will the procedure work?
The day of the procedure Dr. Knox will re-examine your pet. Dr. Knox is extremely skilled in veterinary medicine & surgery, one of the best vets in the Escondido, San Diego area.Your pet will be anesthetized and constantly monitored in preparation for the surgical procedure. Dr. Knox will surgically remove a couple tablespoons of fat and recover your pet from anesthesia. This is a quick and simple procedure that is generally easier than performing a spay. The fat sample will then be processed to remove the stem cells. Processing generally takes a couple of hours. After the stem cells have been collected, your pet will be sedated and the stem cells will be administered into the affected joints and/or into the bloodstream. There may be stem cells delivered directly into the bloodstream because there is evidence to show that other systemic issues may be positively affected. The great part is that Companion Animal Clinic's stem cell procedure, using the MediVet America technology is an outpatient procedure. Your pet will go home the same day of the procedure.
When will I see results?
We expect you to see results! While we know every animal is different and there are no guarantees, MediVet America has seen positive clinical improvement in 95% of the arthritic cases performed nationwide. Some owners have even reported seeing a difference in as little as a week! While quick results are possible, we expect you to begin seeing improvement within the first 90 days following treatment. Really bad arthritis may require multiple injections, so banking your extra cells is always a good idea!
Is this procedure safe?
As with any procedure that involves anesthesia, there is always a risk. However, the stem cells are coming from your pet and are being re-administered back to your pet. There have been no reports of an allergic reaction or rejection. In rare cases there might be a mild immune reaction in the injected joint that should subside within a day or two. Dr. Knox is a skilled veterinarian who will handle your furry friend with the best care a vet possibly can.