Global leaders in stem cell research are congregating December 7-9 in Palm Beach, Florida for the World Stem Cell Summit , and a specialized track will be dedicated exclusively to stem cell research and regenerative medicine in horses.
Stem cells are a type of cell which can do some pretty incredible things. First, they can grow by dividing quickly and almost infinitely, and second, according to the National Institute of Health, “they can be induced to become tissue- or organ-specific cells with special functions.” Essentially, stem cells can be implanted into a subject with damaged cells and the stem cells can repair tissues that cannot heal on their own or are healing slowly or incorrectly. There’s also some indication that stem cells could be used to re-program “bad” cells.
These cells are collected in two primary ways:
- As embryonic stem cells – stem cells appear in large quantities very early on in the fertilization process, about five days after fertilization. Cells are collected from these embryos and can then be used in numerous places in the body to make new, healthy cells. The process does destroy the embryo in the process, however.
- As adult stem cells – the cells are more limited in terms of what they can be used for, but they can be harvested from full-grown animals with little to no risk of injury. (these cells are generally harvested from bone marrow and adipose tissue, or fat.)
While there are some controversies surrounding human stem cells and the practice of harvesting cells from extremely early human embryos, these concerns are more easily managed in animal sciences. There remains a universal pressure, however, to limit the use of embryos by seeking alternatives and maintain the highest bioethical standards.
In terms of the breadth and scope of what impact stem cell research could have in the horse world, the possibilities are staggering. Stem cell therapy — if approved, streamlined, and properly governed and administered — could generate new and healthy cells for humans and animals suffering from macular degeneratoin, burns, organ damage and failure, Cushings, neurological conditions, arthritis, and other orthopedic issues.
There are even signs that stem cell therapy could be helpful in fighting various forms of cancer by using healthy, fast-growing stem cells to “teach” cancerous cells to make healthy cells and stop production of bad cells . (These same breakthroughs apply in human health, as well.)
The first ever Equine World Stem Cell Summit will attract vets, researchers, bio-engineers and investors to learn more about the state of the field and share conclusions from years of research, as well as opportunities to network, collaborate and commercialize their work. Today, the summit announced that the event is also now a partner with the North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Association.
“We are excited to participate in the Equine World Stem Cell Summit and believe NAVRMA and EWSCS is a natural partnership,” said Dr. Alan Nixon, Founder and Chairman of the Board at NAVRMA and professor of clinical sciences at Cornell University. “We encourage professional improvement and the exchange of knowledge and ideas among people interested in veterinary regenerative medicine. The summit is the perfect place to share information and encourage learning not only for veterinarians and researchers, but for interested owners, riders, trainers, and breeders in the equine industry.”
Workshop sessions at the Summit will include the following topics:
- Advances in Equine Regenerative Medicine – A Clinical Update for the Equine Community with Paul D. Robbins, PhD, Professor, Department of Metabolism& Aging, Florida Campus, Laboratory Website, Scripps VIVO Scientific Profile, of Scripps Research Institute; Arnold Caplan, PhD, Professor Biology and Director, Skeletal Research Center, of Case Western Reserve University; Steve Ghivizzani, PhD, Professor of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation, of University of Florida College of Medicine
- Equine Orthopedics with Steve Ghivizzani, PhD, of University of Florida College of Medicine
- Orthopedic Applications of Stem Cells in Equine Medicine with Dr. Pablo Espinosa, DVM-specialty equine surgery, Department of Surgical & Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, of University of California, Davis
- Stem Cell Tracking in Horses and Other Large Animals with Dr. Mathieu Spriet, DVM, MS, Diplomate American College of Veterinary Radiology, Associate Professor, Department of Surgical & Radiological Sciences, of University of California, Davis
- Neurological Applications of Stem Cells in Horses: Feasibility, Safety and Tracking with Dr. Rogerio Martins Amorim, DVM, MSc, PhD, Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Science, Veterinary Clinic Department, Veterinary Neurology Service of São Paulo, Brazil
- Equine Regenerative Medicine – Clinical Experience and Relevance to Human Therapy with Robert J. Harman, DVM, MPVM, CEO of VetStem Biopharma Inc.
- Equine Treatments Using Stromal Vascular Fraction and Platelet Rich Plasma with Priscilla Ortiz Porras, DVM, of Innova Celulas Madre, Costa Rica
- Equine Regenerative Medicine with Paul D. Robbins, PhD, of Scripps Research Institute; Dori Borjesson, BA, DVM, MPVM, PhD, Professor and Researcher, Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology, of University of California, Davis
- Issues Related to Cloning Horses with Dr. Timo Faltus, Cipl.-Biol., Dipl.-Jur., Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter/Projektleiter bei Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, GermanyAdditional speakers include: Jose Cibelli, DVM-PhD, Professor – Michigan State University, on sabbatical leave at BIONAND-Spain; and leaders from the North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Association (NAVRMA).
The summit is open to anyone who has an interest in the subject or would like the opportunity to learn more, invest, or collaborate with stem cell and regenerative medicine researchers. The cost is $500 to attend for all three days when you enter the code “EQUINERM” at checkout. You can register for the event here: http://worldstemcellsummit.com/equine/