Stem Cells 101

What is a stem cell?
Stem cells are specialized cells that have remarkable potential to repair the body. Stem cells are primitive cells that can become many other different types of cells (such as cartilage or bone) to help the body heal from injury or illness. As people and animals age, the number of natural stem cells in the body decreases – which is why older people heal less efficiently than younger people.

What can stem cells treat?
Stem cells show great promise to help animals and people heal from many different diseases and conditions such as orthopedic conditions, heart disease, neurologic conditions, and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

What type of stem cells does Animal Cell Therapies use and where do they come from?
Animal Cell Therapies uses adult stem cells from umbilical cord tissue, which is donated by pet owners. This tissue would otherwise be discarded. From that tissue, ACT develops pure doses of mesenchymal stem cells, which are cells that not only are involved in many types of tissue repair, but also secrete important proteins needed for the body to repair itself.

What are the other potential sources of stem cells, and what is the best source?|
Stem cells can be obtained from embryos (embryonic stem cells), fetal tissue (fetal stem cells), and bone marrow, fat, and umbilical cords (adult stem cells). Umbilical cords are a superior source because there are no ethical concerns, are easy to collect, do not require additional surgeries, and are the youngest and most potent type of adult stem cell. Animal Cell Therapies only collects cells from umbilical cord tissue.

What is the difference between autologous and allogeneic stem cells?
Autologous stem cells involve the same individual as both the donor and the recipient. Autologous stem cell preparations on the market today are non-purified and contain many different cell types. Autologous use of stem cells also requires the donor to undergo a surgery to remove fat or bone marrow.

Allogeneic stem cells come from one donor, and can be transplanted into other recipients. Animal Cell Therapies umbilical cord stem cells are negative for something called MHC-2, which stands for major histocompatability class 2. Because are cells are negative for MHC-2, they can be used universally in any dog, without rejection or immune response. This benefits pet owners because their dog does not have to undergo surgery to collect bone marrow or fat to harvest stem cells.

Aren’t there other stem cell treatments already for sale?
Other stem cell treatments on the market produce mostly mixtures of cells that contain a very small percentage of beneficial stem cells. These treatments require surgery on an already sick or injured dog to obtain bone marrow or fat, and the quality, purity, and potency of these cells can vary based on many factors, including the age and health status of the animal. These unlicensed treatments have also evaded FDA scrutiny, so there is very little published scientific information available about their safety and efficacy.

Why are Animal Cell Therapies stem cells different?
Our cells only come from the umbilical cords of newborn puppies delivered via C-Section. The tissue would normally be discarded as “waste”. We purify our cells to ensure they include only beneficial stem cells. We are conducting highly controlled studies at major universities and pursuing FDA approval, so when our cells obtain market approval there will be highly scrutinized scientific data to support their safety and efficacy.

Are any animals harmed when Animal Cell Therapies collects stem cells?
No. Animal Cell Therapies uses umbilical cords from newborn puppies born to a select group of owners and breeders. The umbilical cords would normally be thrown away. We do not harvest embryos, use research dogs, or harm or kill any animals with our umbilical cord collection.

Are Animal Cell Therapies stem cells available for sale?
Not yet. We are on a path for FDA approval which is a long and costly process but we are making good progress. We are currently conducting clinical trials at several sites for a variety of chronic problems. If you are interested to see if your pet may qualify, please contact us at clinicaltrials@actcells.com.