Osteoarthritis (OA) in horses is a major equine welfare problem. We propose that use and ongoing optimization of biologic therapies that have no adverse affects on joint tissues is an imperative for the racing industry. In humans with OA, the injection of stem cells produced durable long-term cartilage for up to 7 years. In Europe, two equine stem cell products have recently been approved to treat equine fetlock OA, but these products suffer from short shelf life or low cell numbers.
Research into equine stem cells as regenerative medicine has been ongoing for over 20 years. Stem cell technologies hold promise for healing musculoskeletal tissues and wounds, fighting bacterial infections, and treating inflammatory conditions, but definitive evidence of the safety and therapeutic efficacy of these technologies have not yet been proven. A major limiting factor for conducting clinical trials to prove safety and efficacy is the lack of sufficient cell numbers with reproducible, standardized, and characterized properties.
Injuries involving joint cartilage such as osteoarthritis (OA) are some of the most common causes of lameness and pain in equine. Sophisticated means of monitoring joint health status are needed to allow early detection and intervention as well as monitoring the effect of interventions. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of short non-coding RNAs, participate in various biological processes including cartilage development and homeostasis. miRNAs have been measured at the tissue level, in synovial fluid and serum, and may reflect some aspects of the health status of the animal.
For over 10 years, eQcell Inc. has been treating horses with stem cells. In order to efficiently direct future research, a full picture of the efficacy of past treatments is necessary. This project will follow up with all clients across 8 clinics to collect an up-to-date snapshot of previously treated horses’ health and progression or regression from the time of treatment. These data will help generate hypotheses and narrow the research focus of the company to where stem cells may be best applied.
Osteoarthritis is a major cause of disability in dogs. Today, the therapeutic role of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) as a potential treatment for immune and inflammatory disorders is well-defined. We are interested in exploring the immune-modulatory property of canine MSCs with the aim of exploiting it as a potential therapy in dogs with Elbow Dysplasia. This foundational work will support future funding applications to conduct a randomized clinical trial (RCT) to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment.
Antimicrobial resistance is a recognized and growing problem in equine medicine. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) have recently been shown to have antimicrobial properties. We are interested in exploring if equine MSCs can reduce bacterial growth in vitro and to understand the cellular mechanisms governing such an effect.
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