What is Regenerative Therapy?
Regenerative therapies are part of a relatively new branch of medicine which uses biological material to augment the body’s own restorative capabilities to promote the regrowth of healthy tissue and return the damaged area to normal function. Unlike symptomatic drug treatments that mask pain or reduce inflammation by putting a Band-Aid on a problem, regenerative therapies actually fix the underlying tissue damage.
For years, the term “regenerative medicine” has been associated with stem cells and stem cell-related therapies. These treatments are invasive and involve the painful harvesting of a horse’s cells from bone marrow, fat or blood (PHP).
Luckily, there is a new regenerative treatment that is taking human medicine by storm: amnion. Amnion is the innermost membrane and surrounding fluid that protects and nurtures a baby as it grows in its mother’s womb. This material, which typically ends up on the ground during birth, is rich in all the basic building blocks of tissue and bone: collagen, growth factors, hyaluronic acid, carbohydrates, and proteins essential for fetal development. By using this “miracle of birth,” amniotic treatments do not require the painful harvesting or culturing of stem cells the way other regenerative treatments do.
Additionally, amnion is immune privileged, which is the reason mothers do not reject the “foreign body” growing in them during pregnancy. As a result, the body will not reject amniotic treatments the way it does with other types of tissue transplants. This means unlike any other treatment, patients—either human or horse—can be treated the same day as diagnosis at a better value due to no harvesting or culturing of cells.
How does amnion work?
Amnion works by creating a “bioscaffold” around the wounded area and helps the body create and heal the wound with the correct, matching material rather than whatever is lying around.
Think of it like this:
Injuries in animals are like a tornado ripping a house from its foundation. The injured tissue is scattered around and left structurally damaged or weakened. After the initial shock, the body calls for help by way of inflammation much like the way a home owner would call for help. If the area has good blood flow, the body can typically heal itself. If the area is remote with poor blood flow—legs, joints, etc.—then the body is forced to heal the area with whatever material it has on hand or falls off the truck in the limited blood flow. This leaves the rebuilt wound neither cosmetically appealing or structurally sound and usually results in scar tissue, proud flesh, and susceptible to reinjury. For more on this, please see “What do horses and tornados have in common?”
What does this mean for my horse?
Wound remodeling at the source of injury. Due to its ability to treat chronic, hard-to-heal wounds, amniotic material has a long and varied history of success in humans. Its beneficial uses as a wound and burn treatment can be traced to the early 1900s and its use for eye ulcers in the late 1940s. Historically, storage and collection were difficult, but today, thanks to advancements in cryopreservation technologies, the use of amniotic material experienced a significant resurgence as a treatment for diabetic and other wounds from 2009 onward.
According to Mike Ross, DVM, DACVS, in Diagnosis and Management of Lameness in the Horse, 33 percent of barrel racing horses suffer career-ending injuries each year. By using an amnion-based treatment, such as AniCell Biotech’s AniMatrX™, these tendon injuries do not have such devastating consequences.
Vets like Mark Haugland, DVM, DACVS are seeing better results on severe tendon and ligament injuries with AniCell Biotech’s AniMatrX™ products.
“Right now, it is my first option for treatment of tendon lesion,” Haugland said. “I think clients will pursue amnion, as it is less expensive than stem-cell treatment and can be used immediately without bone marrow or fat harvest. Healing response is faster than PRP. I would recommend the product to others, and it is on my list of go-to treatments for tendon or ligament injuries.”
Want an example? Check out Pablo’s story.
Want to try it yourself? Visit us at anicellbiotech.com/horse to learn more.