A Memphis Vet – Dr. Kathy Mitchener – is one of only a few doctors in the U.S. who’s got credentials to perform such life-saving procedure that is now hailed as a cure for arthritis in animals.
Just months ago, Memphis vets performed the first successful stem cell transplant. Now they’re developing a new technique that uses cells from the patient’s body instead of developing embryonic stem cells.
Yes folks, even animals – your pets – can get arthritis too.
As our pets age, they can develop many diseases that are also common in humans, including arthritis. I asked Dr. Sue Losito about some of the signs to look for in our pets.
“If your pet is having trouble getting up, or if they are walking with a limp, they may be showing signs of arthritis,” said Losito.
Going back to the stem cell transplantation procedure mentioned above, according to Dr. Mitchener:
“It effectively is the only treatment we have right now that literally stops the progression of arthritis in its tracks and restores the joint to a normal metabolism, so that the animal can return to function.
The short, minimally invasive procedure requires Mitchener to go in surgically and remove a small amount of fat from the animal. Two days later, the cells are injected into the affected joints.
I think this is probably the most exciting procedure I’ve been involved with in the 20 something years I’ve been a vet, because it uses the animal’s body to restore health.”
Apparently, cats are going to be next and maybe humans in the future. HUMANS.
Now, that is indeed exciting. I’m elated to know that this works on dogs. Who knows? Maybe stem cell transplantation will work on arthritis patients.
Stem cell transplantation, though sometimes controversial, is in my opinion really promising. What if this the key to the treatment of various serious medical conditions, and yes including arthritis.
As defined by Mayo Clinic:
A stem cell transplant is the infusion of healthy stem cells into your body. A stem cell transplant may be necessary if your bone marrow stops working and doesn’t produce enough healthy stem cells. A stem cell transplant can help your body make enough healthy white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets, and reduce your risk of life-threatening infections, anemia and bleeding.
Although the procedure to replenish your body’s supply of healthy blood-forming cells is generally called a stem cell transplant, it’s also known as a bone marrow transplant or an umbilical cord blood transplant, depending on the source of the stem cells. Stem cell transplants can use cells from your own body (autologous stem cell transplant) or they can utilize stem cells from donors (allogenic stem cell transplant).
What if this is indeed the key? I cannot help thinking along those lines each time stem cell transplantation comes to mind. What do you think?