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Tag: cure

Will stem cells bring Bentley’s legs back?

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.

Korean company clones dogs from stem cells

A South Korean biotech company announced yesterday that it has cloned two dogs using stem cell technology for the first time in the world.

RNL Bio, in cooperation with a team of Seoul National University scientists, created two black and white puppies this week using stem cells from fat tissue of a female beagle.

U.S., Japanese and New Zealand scientists have cloned mice, pigs and deer using stem cells, but the births on Tuesday were the first time stem cells were successfully used to clone dogs, according to the university team. Seoul National University cloned the world’s first dog, Snuppy, in 2005.

Snuppy was created using an ordinary skin cell. Stem cells are prized for their ability to grow into a variety of more specialized cells. RNL Bio, based on Seoul, plans to commercialize the stem cell technology, which will allow clients to store their dogs’ stem cells, which can be used to cure disease, or clone them after they die.

RNL Bio head Ra Jeong-chan said the approach would also help scientists study how to treat human diseases such as diabetes and arthritis by putting human disease-related genes into dogs’ stem cells and creating clones. Ra also predicted the new technology could lower the price of dog cloning, now $100,000 or more.

Lee Byeong-chun, head of the university research team, said stem cells offer an advantage over ordinary cells for such genetic research. Lee said his team has cloned about 35 dogs and five wolves.

The two new cloned dogs — named Magic and Stem — have been living with their surrogate mother, a golden retriever, in a university facility since they were born Tuesday.

(Photo courtesy of RNL Bio)