Farm team athletes recently have been reaping the benefits of stem cell treatments for orthopedic problems throughout the world—Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, Japan, South Africa, and Australia. The athletes in this case however are not human…they are thoroughbred horses.
Whether the stem cells are frozen from a foal’s umbilical cord or are extracted from other sources from the animal’s own sternum or are obtained from the animal’s fat, they are being cultured and re-injected in damaged tendons later on during the animal’s lifetime. The technique has doubled the chance of an injured horse returning to full performance.
So successful has the treatment been in the equine population, a spin-off organization in London has begun to lay the groundwork for human trials. The initial focus of the treatments in humans will be with rotator cuff injuries, an occupational hazard of pitchers.
Illustration: MicroSoft clipart.
ABC News-Rural Net-Australia (04/20/07)