Talkin’ ‘Bout Regeneration

02.21.2013 |

“You’re treating canine incontinence? Sign me up!”

Incontinence. It’s one of those embarrassing topics we try to ignore, alluding to it only via delicately worded Depends commercials or drug advertisements featuring people made entirely out of plumbing. But it is a problem, and not just for people.

In fact, urinary incontinence is an issue in almost 20 percent of spayed female dogs, as well as in a pretty sizeable portion of the older pet population, and its effects go beyond embarrassing messes to bladder and kidney infections, ulcerated tissue, and other complications.

Now, a partnership between NC State and Wake Forest in regenerative medicine may lead to therapies that will benefit not only companion animals, but eventually human patients.

In 2011, NC State’s Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research (CCMTR) entered a partnership with the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest’s Baptist Medical Center to work on safe and effective ways to use cells to regenerate damaged tissue in pets. The canine incontinence project is the first to enter the clinical trial phase.

Led by NC State clinicians Shelly Vaden and Kyle Mathews, the trial will recruit dogs with naturally occurring incontinence and treat them using muscle stem cells which were grown from muscle cells taken from their own bodies. The clinical trial will run for two years, during which time they hope to treat and monitor at least 40 dogs. NC State genomics professor Jorge Piedrahita, clinician investigator Kristin Manning, and clinical assistant professor Mike Wood are co-researchers on the project. Wake Forest professors James Yoo and Koudy Williams are contributors to the work.

Beyond Doggy Depends

The CCMTR is also working on other projects in regenerative medicine, including the use of stem cells to help treat spinal cord injuries, and even limb-sparing implants for dogs with bone cancer. They’re hosting a free public seminar on these topics this Saturday, Feb. 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. Go here to learn more.

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