Understanding stem cells:
Stem cells have a remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. In many tissues they also serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. The 3 unique properties of stem cells are: they are capable of dividing and renewing themselves for long periods; they are unspecialized; and they can give rise to specialized cell types. Stem cells are of 3 types depending on where they are sourced from: embryonic, foetal and adult stem cells.
How can stem cells be used in animals?
The basic ability of stem cells to continuously renew themselves has been utilised by veterinarians in many countries for:
- Osteoarthritis (secondary to dysplasia, injury, etc.)
- Caridac (heart) conditions
- Chronic kidney failure
- Incurable skin conditions
- Injuries in race horses
Stem cells are now being used by select veterinarians in India for treatment of hip dysplasia, cardiac conditions, chronic kidney failure and certain skin conditions.