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Pet stem cells frozen, banked for future use
SUNRISE, Fla. -
March 14, 2012
Coral Springs Animal Hospital is a busy place.
Last year, doctors treated 50,000 animals for an average of 130 a day.
Veterinarians said some could benefit from treatment with their own stem cells.
Now comes the possibility of not just using pet stem cells for a current injury or illness, but also storing them for future use.
"I think this is the way of the future," said Kristin Comella, Cheif Executive Officer of Stemlogix, a Sunrise company that processes and stores animal stem cells.
"We remove the stem cells from the animals' fat and process them into a single cell suspension," said Comella.
From there, the cells are placed in freezing liquid nitrogen.
"Those cells can then be brought down to very low temperatures, minus 160 degrees Celsius, and stored for long periods of time to help maintain the quality of those cells," Comella said.
Use of pet stems cells is becoming common in orthopedic procedures but studies are underway into the possible benefit for degenerative conditions.
"There are studies in New York currently for kidney failure, kidney failure in cats in particular, and we're looking at things like heart disease and lung disease," said Rawson.
The stem cells are extracted during a routine surgical procedure.
"This could be a spay or neuter, a dental cleaning or perhaps other necessary surgical procedure," said Rawson. "An animal should never put under anesthesia simply for the sole purpose of extracting stem cells."
Comella said they've had requests to store cells from a variety of pet owners.
"The majority of animals we've been involved with are horses and dogs. In rare occasions, we've been asked to work with cats. We had a request for a turtle and, most recently, a skunk," Comella said.
Comella said the cost of extracting the cells from fat for storage is $400; if the animal is already undergoing a procedure utilizing their stem cells there is no cost for extraction. The annual fee for storage is $150.
For more information, go to www.stemlogix.com.
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First treatment in 2007. Pioneering ever since.
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