With an aim to harness stem cells for repairing tendons, ligaments, cartilages and bone damages in horses, Melbourne scientists are going to develop new equine embryonic stem cell lines in their laboratories.
The main aim of the Melbourne scientists, including Dr Paul Verma, from Monash Institute of Medical Research and a US company, ViaGen Inc, is to open a bank where genetically matched newly developed equine embryonic stem cell lines will be preserved for individual horses.
Damage to tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bone are common in horses during their performances in races and polo horses. Tendon, ligament and cartilage injuries can range from minor inflammation to a complete rupture, which can result in permanent lameness and the end of a horse’s competitive life. Once a horse has damaged a tendon or ligament, the risk of re-injury is very high.
Dr John van Veenendaal, specialist equine surgeon says, Current stem cell therapies involve aspirating bone marrow cells from the injured horse. The cells are then sent to a laboratory and grown into the required tissue cells; a process that takes three weeks. Having access to a less invasive, faster method of treating injured horses would be fantastic.
Peter Morgan. a horse trainer who is renowned for his rehabilitative training for injured thoroughbred horses says, this research can change the way we look and treat injured racehorses. This new technique will help the horses to get back onto the track much more quickly which will in turn increase the value of the mare and her offspring.