Stem Cell Therapy Research


Stem cells have the unique capacity to generate a range of specialised cell types so for years researchers have looked for ways to use them to replace damaged or diseased tissues.  As long ago as 1961 it was shown that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) could develop into tendon cells in the lab and by the end of the 1990’s the regeneration of new tendon-like tissue had been shown in vivo. In 2005 Hankemeier et al. demonstrated that the implantation of MSCs induced a better quality and stronger repair in rat patella tendon. These earlier results are supported by recent data generated both experimentally and by clinical follow-up which show significantly improved quality and function of equine tendons post-injury (Godwin et al., 2012).


Post-mortem results from treated equine SDFTs show very good tendon healing and a 

fascicular arrangement that is largely retained/reconstituted and contains an adequate longitudinally arranged fibroblastic/tenocytic 

population1. National Hunt racehorses that have suffered tendon injuries have a return-to-performance rate of 74% after stem cell treatment2 compared to 48% anticipated for horses treated with non-biologicals (O’Meara 2010). Recent results have shown that stem cell treatment within one month of injury significantly improves the horse’s recovery.


Further Reading

1) Beneficial effects of autologous bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in naturally occurring ten dinopathy. 

Smith RK, Werling NJ, Dakin SG, Alam R, Goodship AE, Dudhia J.

PLoS One. 2013 Sep 25;8(9):e75697. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075697. eCollection 2013. 

2) Implantation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells demonstrates improved outcome in horses with overstrain injury of the superficial digital flexor tendon. 

Godwin EE, Young NJ, Dudhia J, Beamish IC, Smith RK.

Equine Vet J. 2012 Jan;44(1):25-32. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2011.00363.x. Epub 2011 May 26. 

3) Effect of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem and regenerative cells on lameness in dogs with chronic osteoarthritis of the coxofemoral joints: a randomized, double-blinded, multicenter, controlled trial. 

Black LL1, Gaynor J, Gahring D, Adams C, Aron D, Harman S, Gingerich DA, Harman R.

Vet Ther. 2007 Winter;8(4):272-84.