Science News
Studies: Stem-cell therapy on horses works
Published: June 14, 2011 at 5:43 PM

SAN DIEGO, June 14 (UPI) -- Maybe the debate stem-cell treatment for humans should have some horse sense, says a company in California that treats racehorses with stem-cell therapy.

Veterinarian Bob Harman, chief executive officer of the San Diego-based Vet-Stem, says his company has treated 4,141 horses for soft-tissue injuries with a success rate of 70 percent to 80 percent, PopSci reported Tuesday.

"Orthopedically, the horse is a disaster waiting to happen," Harman said. "They're so big -- a 1,000-pound animal on little toothpick legs -- and they're working at high capacity."

Physicians generally reserve stem-cell therapy, which draws on stem cells' unique ability to regenerate and adapt into nearly any tissue, for patients with major medical problems. Veterinarians, however, are "in a unique position to try stem-cell treatments for quality-of-life problems," said Thomas Koch of the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College.

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