Stem Cell Banking
I have previously discussed opportunities that exist now with stem cell therapy. There is an exciting new development that will probably change the whole approach to veterinary medicine in the future.
Until recently, if a decision is made to use stem cells in a particular patient, several steps are required.
- A surgical procedure is needed to harvest cells from a patient’s abdomen. Abdominal fat is the largest reservoir of cells with the highest yield of latent stem cells.
- The cells, in a special media, are immediately rushed to California by FedEx. The Vet Stem company process the samples to extract the stem cells. We provide the company with specific information regarding the site of the planned treatment area. Syringes are loaded with the extracted stem cells and returned to us within 48 hours and within an hour of arrival in our hospital and are injected into the patient. Because a specific surgery is needed harvest the fatty material and certain essential steps are time sensitive, the cost is approximately $2,800.00 to $3,000.00 including the re-introduction of the stem cells in the patient.
Now, a new arrangement has been worked out with the Vet Stem company which allows planned harvesting of a small amount (grape size) of fat taken during any surgical procedure (e.g., a spay or neuter). This small volume is rushed to the Vet Stem company, which extracts and cultures to produce large numbers of stem cells. This company will then store these cells for future use, for years, so that these cells will always be available at any time should the need arise. The full cost to harvest, process, and bank the cells including FedEx transport is $495.00. Banking for the first year is free, thereafter is a minimal $50 per year. Think how valuable these cells might be in a few years when we may be treating a wide variety of conditions with stem cells.
At a time of illness, anesthesia and surgery may not be an option. But, the comfort level of already having your own pet’s stem cells banked and available could provide untold benefits to you and your pet.