CSU research on horse injuries, stem-cell recovery, may help humans

Posted: January 9, 2015 at 7:49 am

Stem-cell research by Colorado State University staffers using bone marrow from horses to heal joint injuries on the same animal is making strides, and researchers have great hope that the project will lead to human medical applications.

A team with CSU's Equine Orthopaedic Research Center reports that adding stem-cell therapy to traditional arthroscopic surgery on horses has significantly increased success rates.

Horses that had follow-up, stem-cell treatment were twice as likely to return to normal activity as those that did not, said David Frisbie, an associate professor of equine surgery with CSU and part of the research team.

"We've doubled it, conservatively," in treating cartilage damage in the knee, Frisbie said.

The team had results of its work published last year in the journal Veterinary Surgery.

Some lesions in the meniscus of horses that could not be treated by surgery have been successfully mended using stem cells alone.

"Western performance horses, reining and cutting horses, and barrel horses are very prone to meniscal injuries," Frisbie said.

Beyond meniscus damage, researchers also have focused on tendon lesions in the lower leg, which typically strike race horses.

Horses that suffered a tendon lesion had about a 66 percent chance of reinjury after surgery. Add stem-cell treatment and the reinjury rate drops to 21 percent, Frisbie said.

"It beats the old standards of therapies," which included cortisone and use of other steroids, Frisbie said.

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CSU research on horse injuries, stem-cell recovery, may help humans

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