Animal health care company Vet Biotechnology reports that they have launched cutting edge technology in Australia with the collection of equine umbilical cord stem cells from the afterbirth of newborn thoroughbred (foals) young offspring of a horse.

The process to be named the “Cord Service” in Australia, and currently available in the United Kingdom and Europe under the name “Neo-EQ”, is being validated in conjunction with a group of select Australian thoroughbred studs.

Vet Biotechnology was granted the exclusive Australasian licence for the service in 2004 by the UK-based VetCell BioScience Ltd., which developed the technology in association with the Royal Veterinary College of London. The Newcastle Stock Exchange-listed company holds the only Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) registration for stem cell therapies in Australia.

The Australian equine industry is now able to access the most advanced technology in the world for the treatment of potentially career-ending tendon and ligament injuries.

Adult stem cells are the body’s natural repair mechanism for damaged or diseased tissues and have the ability to form various other tissues, such as bone, muscle and cartilage.

However, these cells occur naturally in very low numbers. The Vet Biotechnology stem cell services provide purified, expanded and concentrated therapeutic doses.

The technology involves the collection, growth and cryopreservation of adult stem cells isolated from the umbilical cord. The stem cells will be stored at the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science (IMVS) in Adelaide and can be used later to repair injured tendons and ligaments in the horse from which they were extracted. Stored cells can also be used for future therapies as they emerge.

According Lindsay Park head veterinarian Dr Campbell Baker, it is an exciting prospect that stem cell therapy offers horses with injury the chance of a successful recovery and a return to racing.

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