Research At CSU Suggests Stem Cell Therapy Beneficial To Cats In Chronic Kidney Failure

Chronic kidney failure, commonly known among veterinarians as chronic renal failure, is the number one cause of death in cats.   It is generally accepted that if a cat lives long enough, it is not a question of if he will develop kidney failure, but a question of when.   Many cats are genetically predisposed to chronic renal failure and will develop the disease before 10 years of age.

Chronic renal failure is a degenerative disease where there is progressive loss of functional kidney tissue.  As functional kidney tissue turns to scar tissue, the kidneys progressively experience a gradual reduction in key functions, including detoxification, concentrating urine, and regulating red blood cell production.

In the past, our only means of diagnosing chronic renal failure in cats was detection in general blood work with proportional elevations of two key kidney values in combination with unusually dilute urine seen on urinalysis.  By the time these circumstances manifested, however, 75% loss of functional tissue had already been lost.

With the advent of early screening with a blood test called SDMA and a change in interpretation of the key kidney value called creatinine (previously 2.1 was considered elevated, whereas now the American Feline Renal Society recognizes 1.6 or higher an indicator of renal disease), we are able to detect chronic renal failure well before there is substantial loss of functional tissue.

This has been very important for cats with chronic renal disease, where dietary modifications with prescription renal diets that limit phosphorous, sodium, and metabolic proteinaceous waste could be implemented to slow the degeneration and maintain quality of life.  While these dietary measures have proven invaluable for cats in active chronic renal failure, their role in slowing progression of early disease remains questionable.

While the renal diets are still an accepted strategy for slowing the progression of early chronic renal failure, new research at Colorado State University headed by Dr. Jessica Quimby suggests that stem cell therapy could play a key role in stabilizing degenerative chronic renal failure in cats.  Her research early on, however, indicates that once the functional tissue is gone, stem cell therapy will not restore the tissue and is not as powerful in turning back the clock on kidney health.  She states that her research shows the most significant benefit to stem cell therapy is with cats that are screened early and treated early to stabilize and halt the loss of kidney tissue before reaching the 75% loss threshold.

Still, the conclusions of Dr. Quimby’s research are still premature and she observes that stem cell therapy may still be quite helpful even for cats with more advanced stages of chronic renal disease.  She states, “Up until now, we’ve focused on cats with early stages of the disease with the hope of slowing disease progression.  We noticed that a few cats with worse stages in those studies were actually doing really well. We can’t ignore the possibility that stem cells could help those cats, too.”

With cutting edge technology from Tithon Animal Services that enables us to now harvest stem cells from peripheral via simple blood draw (the Colorado State study is using stem cells derived from fat which requires a minor surgical procedure for harvest) that my clinic is now utilizing there is a  subsequent dramatic reduction in cost and invasiveness for treatment.  With simple blood draw followed by simple IV infusion of the stem cells once they are processed (typically in 1-2 business days) there is really little reason not to attempt stem cell therapy in cats in early to advanced stages of chronic renal failure.

The biggest takeaway from this article with regard to stem cell therapy and chronic renal failure in cats is early screening of disease is key in optimizing treatment success.  Thus, by 8 years of age, every cat should be having at least once yearly blood and urinalysis screening for detection of disease and early intervention.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

Primary source for this article: https://source.colostate.edu/veterinarians-pursue-stem-cell-therapy-cats-severe-kidney-disease/

Exciting Cutting Edge Stem Cell Therapy Advances In Veterinary Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative veterinary medicine refers to the repair of tissues by using the body’s own intrinsic healing mechanisms.  We activate the body’s cellular, neurological, and blood born healing capacities with side effect free therapies like Class IV therapy laser and acupuncture and the results have been remarkable.  With increasing momentum of stem cell and platelet rich plasma treatment (PRP), we are now taking regenerative medicine to another level.

Stem cells are progenitor cells that can differentiate into any tissue cell type.  By harvesting the patients’ own stem cells, activating them, and injecting them into injured areas, we are able to repair tissues at the cellular level.  In the past, the harvesting of stem cells has required a minor surgical procedure with general anesthesia where fat from the body is sampled and sent off to a lab to have the stem cells extracted and processed into an injectable media.  Since injection of joints, one of the most common uses of stem cell therapy in veterinary medicine, almost always requires sedation, the costs and client perceived invasiveness associated with anesthesia, minor surgery followed by sedation, clients have often been reluctant to consider it for their pet. As a result, although most veterinarians are strong advocates of this branch of medicine, to date we have found it a tough sell for pet owners.

With new technology from PrimoStem, the general anesthesia and surgical portion of stem cell therapy has been taken out of the process.  Their new technology does not require tissue harvest for collection of stem cells, but instead is able to extract and activate stem cells from a simple blood draw.  The blood is sent off to their lab and within 2 business days arrives to the clinic ready for injection.  Thus, your pet can now enjoy the benefits of stem cell therapy for any number of conditions with a simple blood draw, gentle sedation, and injection into damaged areas of the body, all within a 3 day turn around and two outpatient visits.

Stems cell solutions are directly injected into damaged joints and acupuncture points to seek out, differentiate into the given tissue cell type, and repair it. In addition to direct injection, the patient is given an additional intravenous bolus of stem cells to provide systemic regenerative benefits throughout the entire body.

The applications of this type of treatment is poised to go far beyond orthopedic repair.  As I write this article, there are currently studies in process to assess the benefits of this treatment for chronic degenerative disease such as kidney failure, cirrhosis of the liver, and several degenerative neurological conditions that traditional veterinary medicine previously had no answer for.  Conclusions are still pending as the data continues to be collected, but initial results seem very promising.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.