Stem Cell Therapy. Today researchers estimate that 20% or one out of every five dogs develops some form of canine arthritis. Published studies validate the fact that by age two, 85 percent of dogs have radiographic evidence of arthritic bone lesions whether or not visible signs of limping or lameness are present.
Canine Arthritis can develop with or without previous injury to a bone or a joint however the odds of developing arthritis increase dramatically, regardless of the method of fixation used, after a fracture occurs.
Until now, few preparations exist that significantly impact the rate of arthritis development after a bone or joint injury. Researchers from Duke University injected 10,000 special stem cells called mesenchymal cells into fractured joints of mice and found that they acted to prevent arthritis development in the previously fractured joints. Their research was recently published in the Journal of Cell Transplantation.
The scientists at Duke’s Biomedical Engineering Department are hopeful that their research will offer new therapy to prevent arthritis development in fractured joints and bones when injected appropriately and in a timely manner.
Their primary focus was the knee joint which is also referred to as a stifle joint in pets. In fact, knee injuries represent the number one most common musculoskeletal injury in pets in the USA. Similar to a basket all player “on the bench” due to an ACL injury, pets experience the exact same issue.
These mesenchymal stem cells were derived from bone marrow and are very young immature cells not destined to become blood cells. The stem cells were placed in a low oxygen environment which researchers found allows them to grow more quickly so enough could be generated to inject into the joint(s) in question to be effective.
Researchers hypothesize that the purified mesenchymal stem cells work by altering the body’s response to joint inflammation and they also appear to modify cytokines which alter an individual’s immune response favorably to help boost regeneration in knee joints in this case.
This research holds tremendous promise for pets and people suffering with post traumatic arthritic bone and joint injuries.