Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine in Horses

Regenerative medicine technology in humans and in animals is advancing at a much faster pace than most of us realize. It has offered hope to thousands humans suffering from diseases and injuries that destroy and damage vital cells. In animals, much research has been focus on orthopedic injuries in horses and dogs: bone fractures, arthritis and tendon and ligament injuries. There have been numerous clinical trials on stem cell therapy in these animals and the results have been quite encouraging.

What is Regenerative Medicine?

Regenerative medicine is the process of creating living, functional tissue to repair or replace tissue or organ function lost due to injury, disease, age or congenital defect. This field holds the promise of regenerating damaged tissue and organs in the body by simulating previously irreparable organs to heal themselves. Regenerative medicine can improve the quality of life by supporting and activating the animals natural healing process.

What are Stem Cells?

A stem cell is a cell that has the capacity for both replication
and differentiation into other types of cells.

What this means for horses?

Although regenerative medicine technology using stem cells to repair and regeneration is just in infancy, several current uses are becoming more popular and gaining acceptance within the equine industry. These applications are in the treatment of bone fractures and soft tissue injuries. As laboratory and clinical research provides new knowledge, we will have a better understanding of the potential of these cells for use in many other disorders.