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Texas Spin-Off Company Offers Stem Cell Therapy for Pets

Dog treated by veterinarian

(Tony Alter/Flickr)

1 April 2014. A new start-up enterprise founded by biomedical engineers at University of Texas in San Antonio offers individualized stem cell therapies for animals at veterinarians’ offices. Mobile Stem Care LLC is the creation of doctoral students Tony Yuan and Ramon Coronado that began in August 2013.

Mobile Stem Cell offers an on-site lab for veterinarians to provide regenerative medicine to their patients. Yuan and Coronado expect their therapies will help veterinarians treat disorders such as arthritis, traumatic injuries, injured ligaments and tendons, non-healing wounds, and degenerative conditions, including hip dysplasia where dogs inherit an improperly formed hip joint.

These therapies, say the founders, are provided by extracting and culturing stem cells from the patient’s adipose or body fat. Early research on adipose as a source for stem cells used animal models, thus processes for deriving adult stem cells from animals are well documented. Mobile Stem Cell’s lab processes adipose from the patient to extract and culture the animal’s own stem cells.

The company also provides regenerative therapies with platelet-rich plasma, drawn from a patient’s blood. Platelet-rich plasma has higher concentrations of platelets containing growth factors which encourage healing. Treatments with platelet-rich plasma are used to promote healing of chronic and acute muscle, tendon, or ligament injuries, as well as arthritis.

Yuan and Coronado say they can prepare individualized treatments in about 90 minutes. Veterinarians then can inject the stem cells, platelet-rich plasma, or combination of the two, into the area of injured tissue depending on the needs of the patient.

Because the stem cells or platelet-rich plasma are derived from the patient’s own cells, the problem of immune-system rejection is eliminated. And the veterinarians can offer these therapies without building their own labs or buying new equipment.

The founders got the idea for the company from their work at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where their training included developments in stem cell therapies. They also enrolled in the university’s graduate certificate program in technology entrepreneurship.

Steven Davis, founder of the biotechnology company StemBioSys Inc. in San Antonio (and also on the faculty at the UT Health Science Center), is an investor in Mobile Stem Care and enthused about the company’s prospects. “The stem cell arena is exciting from both a scientific and commercial standpoint,” notes Davis in a university statement. “Mobile Stem Care is a unique idea and its services have value in the biomedical sphere. I think it can be successful.”

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