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New Horizons in Equine Health: Regenerative Medicine

In horses, one of the most common and better-recognized regenerative medicine techniques is using stem cells to promote regrowth of various body tissues in the treatment of orthopedic conditions such as bowed tendons, lesions of the deep digital flexor tendon, suspensory ligament and fracture repair and degenerative joint disease. Stem cells are immature cells that naturally mature into various body cell types. They are unique in that they can be readily divided and manipulated or “differentiated” into specific cells for a particular part of the body and can then be transplanted to replace damaged tissue. They also contain many types of growth factors (proteins that cause cells to grow and proliferate and heal) as well as cytokines (chemicals secreted by the cells of the immune system to attack infections and damaged cells). “The idea for using stem cells is that we're performing regenerative healing,” says Dr. Charles McCauley, assistant professor of…

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