Although still largely unavailable and heavily restricted for humans, stem cell treatments for dogs are becoming quicker, cheaper and more common.
Just ask an 8-year-old mutt named Jake, who, injured in pursuit of a UPS truck, underwent the procedure Tuesday in Winston-Salem.
The treatment involves siphoning off belly fat, isolating, filtering and condensing the cells, then injecting them into the area where the problem exists — in Jake’s case, his rear knee joints.
Where once the cells had to be sent to a laboratory before they were ready for injection, some veterinarians are using a new technology, developed by Kentucky-based MediVet-America, that allows the therapy to be done in one day without the stem-cell samples leaving the clinic.
The cost of the procedure has also dropped, from about $3,000 to as low as $1,800, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.
At University Animal Hospital in Greensboro, about 20 grams of fat from Jake’s belly were harvested and placed in a small jar, and, after being isolated and concentrated, injected back into Jake, a beagle mix.
Stem cells can spark new tissue growth in the body, and they aren’t likely to be rejected, as sometimes happens with donor cells.
For humans, it’s a little harder to secure stem cell therapy, at least in this country. Among those who have benefitted from it is presidential candidate Rick Perry. Perry’s stem cells were harvested by RNL Bio.
That’s the same South Korea-based company that clones dogs, and which has successfully cloned them from the stem cells in fat.
(So if the day comes that Rick Perry is campaigning simultaneously on the West Coast and East Coast, don’t be too surprised. We jest. Or do we?)
Those human treatments that do take place have mostly been through experimental programs, or in cases in which patients have traveled to countries where the procedure is legal. About a dozen companies in America are now offering it, but some believe a crackdown by the FDA, whose regulations permit only “minimal manipulation” of harvested cells, is imminent.
For animals, the treatment is a little less controversial and easier to accomplish.
Dr. Christine Hunt, Jake’s veterinarian, said the dog — between his injury and arthritis — was a prime candidate for the procedure. Other treatments, including acupuncture and physical therapy, had been of little help.
Hunt has been certified in stem-cell therapy for about three years but hadn’t used the therapy, partly because the cells had to be shipped to the West Coast to be prepared.
Jake was the second dog to undergo stem cell therapy at the Greensboro clinic. The first, a 7-year-old Pembroke Welsh corgi named Riot, owned by veterinarian Catherine Markijohn, underwent the same therapy this month for back spasms, arthritis and other problems.
Markijohn said that two weeks after the procedure, Riot, is moving much more normally.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 27th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: beagle, cells, christine hunt, cloning, costs, cure, dog, dogs, fat, greensboro, health, humans, injection, jake, medivet-america, mix, procedure, reinjection, rick perry, RNL Bio, stem cell therapy, stem cells, treatment, university animal hospital, veterinarian, veterinary, winston-salem
South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk unveiled his latest cloning achievement yesterday – eight cloned coyotes, created by inserting the nuclei of coyote skin cells into harvested dog eggs.
The coyotes were presented to a wild animal shelter at Pyeongtaek, 35 miles south of Seoul, in a ceremony chaired by Gyeonggi province governor Kim Moon-Soo, Yahoo News reports.
The project was sponsored by the provincial government.
Hwang, whose feats and frauds are recounted in my book, “Dog, Inc.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Man’s Best Friend,” is a former Seoul National University scientist who was fired when some of his research into creating human stem cells from a cloned embryo was found to be faked.
He was also head of the SNU research team that produced Snuppy, the world’s first cloned dog, in 2005.
I met Hwang in 2009, but wasn’t allowed to interview him, when I visited his private laboratory outside of Seoul. That’s where I took the photo of him above, after being invited to watch a dog cloning procedure.
By then, Hwang had left SNU, started his own lab and was cloning dogs for an American company that had auctioned off dog clonings to pet owners online.
The American company later went out of business, citing, among other things, animal welfare concerns and the relatively small market for dog cloning — it at the time costing $150,00 or so.
In addition to Hwang’s lab, another Korean company, RNL Bio, continues to clone dogs for pet owners, government agencies, and for medical use.
Hwang enjoyed international fame for a few years after successfully cloning the world’s first dog and for his research into human stem cells.
But his reputation was tarnished in 2005 when allegations surfaced that he had violated medical ethics by using human eggs from his own researchers. He was also found to have embezzled funds and faked some of his findings.
Despite that, he still had enough support to establish his own lab, in the mountains outside Seoul, where, while banned from further research invovling cloning human embryos, he was permitted to continue his research into canine cloning
In 2009 he received a two-year suspended sentence for embezzling research funds and ethical lapses in obtaining human eggs. Last December an appeals court reduced the penalty to an 18-month suspended sentence.
To clone a coyote, Hwang took cells from the skin of a coyote, and transplanted their nuclei into enucleated dog eggs. An electric jolt was applied to lead the cells to begin dividing, after which the eggs were implanted into surrogate mother dogs.
The first coyote clone was born on June 17.
The Gyeonggi governor praised Hwang and said further cloning projects were in the works: “The cloning of an African wild dog is under way, and we will attempt to clone a mammoth in the future,” he said.
(Photo by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cells, cloned, clones, cloning, coyote, coyotes, dog, dog inc., dogs, fraud, gyeonggi, human embryos, hwang woo suk, mammoth, pets, province, research, science, seoul national university, snuppy, south korea, stem cells
Bentley, a 2-year-old Great Pyrenees with a torn ligament and an arthritic joint in his back leg, was reinjected with his own stem cells this week — a process veterinarians hope will have him running, or at least walking comfortably again, in a matter of weeks.
The procedure – performed on the 105-pound dog at the American Animal Hospital in Randolph, New Jersey — was described as the first one-day, animal stem cell transplant procedure in New Jersey history.
Vets hope the treatment will stimulate cell regeneration in Bentley, reduce inflammation and ease his pain.
“I just want to give Bentley some relief, just so I can walk him again. I’m not expecting him to be a marathon runner,” owner Erin McGuire, who drove her dog 80 miles from Brielle for the treatment, told the Newark Star-Ledger.
The procedure was overseen by Michael Hutchinson, a veterinarian from the Pittsburgh area who has performed similar ones on about 100 dogs, cats and even horses since 2008.
Although the procedure is approved only for animal ailments such as hip dysplasia, arthritis and ligament injuries, it is being looked at — and used in some other countries — to solve human health problems as well.
“The basic procedure involves taking fat from the dog, extracting stem cells and injecting those stem cells back into the dog,” said Brian T. Voynick, owner and director of the Randolph veterinary hospital.
Voynick was the first veterinarian in New Jersey to use stem cell treatment with animals three years ago — a prolonged, multi-day procedure at the time.
After he removed 60 grams of fat from the dog, he’d have to send it to California to be processed, and wait for the stem cells to be shipped back. Bentley’s treatment, in which the stem cells were separated from the fat on site, took less than four hours at Voynick’s hospital Wednesday.
Voynick and Hutchinson removed 16 grams of fat from under the dog’s left shoulder, mixed it with platelets extracted from the dog’s blood and enzymes, incubated the serum, spun it in a centrifuge and finally exposed it to wavelengths of LED lighting under a process patented by an Australian-based company called MediVet.
Bentley was given a good prognosis Wednesday, but only time will tell if the procedure was successful, the Star-Ledger reported.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 13th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, arthritis, bentley, cells, cure, dog, dogs, dysplasia, erin mcguire, fat, great, health, medical, medicine, michael hutchinson, new jersey, pets, procedure, pyrenees, randolph, regenerate, reinject, stem cells, therapy, treatment, veterinarians, veterinary, white
A team of Pennsylvania State University researchers, led by Brent Craven, say that the layer of mucus in a dog’s nose helps it pick up and sort scents as they travel to receptors.
Or, as New Scientist magazine put it, “Dogs extraordinary ability to sniff out anything from cocaine to cancer turns out to owe much to the gunk inside their nose.”
Dogs have many more nerve cells in their nasal cavities — and a complex network of snot-coated tubes that also “pre-sorts” smells, which may make it easier for the brain to identify them.
Craven and his colleagues used MRI images of a dog’s nasal airways to develop computer models of how air travels thorugh them. The researchers observed that different molecules were picked up by nerve cells at different points along the nasal passages.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 9th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: brent craven, cells, dogs, molecules, mucus, nasal cavities, new scientist, odor, passages, pre-sort, research pennysylvania state university, senses, smell, sniff