KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- A new stem cell therapy helps animals with arthritis and could be the answer for humans with more research.
The stem sells are harvested from the animal's adipose (fat) tissue. MediVet America is just one of the many companies that does this stem cell therapy and explains how they do it.
"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 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 bio-active peptides, and contribute to reformation and architectural organization. These are benefits lost once stem cells are cultured."
The procedure has helped numerous animals in the area including Kale, an 11 year-old Golden Retriever with severe arthritis.
"Before the therapy, Kale couldn't walk up stairs. We couldn't even pet him on his back because he was in so much pain. It was heartbreaking for us." said Kale's human Ann Worthington.
They looked into the cost of surgery around $2,200 and decided to give it a try.
"We spent so much money on pain killers and anti-inflammatory medicines that it made sense to pay an upfront cost that would heal the arthritis that plagued Kale." said Ann
Kale had the surgery in August and months later is a brand new dog.
"He's still an old dog and we can't fix that but we can help to improve his quality of life thanks to stem cells. He acts like a puppy now and can even keep up with us on walks." said Ann
Kale was treated at Village Veterinary Medical Center by Dr. Kristi Lively who says she is amazed at his progress.
"It's jaw-dropping to see Kale now. He is one of our biggest success stories and we're proud that we could help him." said Dr. Kristi
As for the future, Dr. Kristi is confident that stem cells could be the answer for millions of humans who are dealing with arthritis.
"Human medicine is able to learn a lot from our success. As for veterinarian medicine we sometimes get to do things like this quicker because it's not as strictly controlled so hopefully there will be a lot of good things we can learn." said Dr. Kristi.
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