I’ve had a couple of calls this week following an article in the TB Owner Breeder magazine on storing cord or cord blood derived equine stem cells.
Historically we have tried to culture cells from blood or cord and ran into all sorts of issues, mainly contamination. Owner expectation of storing cells is high (DIY repair insurance) while the reality is that it is expensive (if done properly the same cost as culturing cells from bone marrow) and a low success rate. I’m not saying it can’t be done but please watch out for stem cell band-wagon.
A few facts that may be of help:
1. Any lab offering this service in the UK must be VMD approved. This goes for labs outside the UK but still advertising for UK business. http://www.vmd.defra.gov.uk/registers/approvedsmas.aspx
2. If you were going to store cells then you need to culture them to the required number (20 million) otherwise there is no advantage over taking bone marrow or adipose tissue at the time of injury. Storing cord blood is not enough. Evidence of successful culture must be given and signed off my the authorised lab manager.
3. The cells belong to the horse/owner and are not to be used on any other animal. There needs to be clear administration in place so that when the horse changes owner so does the ownership of the cells. In the past we looked at placing a certificate in the passport.