Lately, stem cells and stem cell therapy have received many news coverage and some of them are quite controversial. However, it is still important to understand about stem cell in general and the several approaches to stem cell therapy. Before we proceed to stem cell therapy, we must first understand stem cell itself. To define stem cell, it is an undifferentiated cell that can renew itself again and also develop into at least three different types of tissues.
Types of Stem Cells
There are various categories of stem cells, including allogenic, autologous, and xenogenic. The analogenic stem cells are from a donor of the same species. The fact that stem cells do not have the standard surface markers that can elicit immune response, no need to fear about the host tissue rejecting it. Autologous stem cells mean that it came from a similar animal. These type of cells are good for transplanting since there is no problem about them being rejected. Meanwhile, xenogenic stem cells refer to those that came from a donor of another species, for example a pig. Despite that is it expected that these type of cells are to be rejected when injected into another species’ body, there are some cases in which they survive because they have a certain unique characteristics.
How Do Stem Cells Work?
Stem cells have the ability to differentiate into different tissues, as well as the ability that are beneficial for healing. They can help recruit other systemic and local stem cells to focus on repairing damaged tissues.
Stem cells are triggered to move into an area by signals coming from the tissue based on mechanical, chemical and neural changes. Hypoxia or the lack of oxygen, and inflammation are strong triggers for stem cells to target an injury. Stem cells only accounted less than half of the newly formed tissue, most of it are done by the recruited cells. This is why only a small amount of stem cells is injected. It can interfere the healing process if you inject a larger amount of stem cells since some of it will die and must be removed during the healing process.
Applying Stem Cell Therapy in Horses
Probably the most promising use of stem cell therapy is in the repair of injuries in the ligament of the horses. It is very hard to heal an injured ligament in a horse’s lower leg. The stem cells from the own fat of the injured horse can be immediately injected in the area of ligament injury to trigger the healing with less scarring.
Stem cell therapy proved to have a huge potential and can used to treat injuries of organ damage. Moreover, systemic stem cell therapy shows promise in treating neurological conditions.