I was recently interviewed on a live pod cast with my friends at Pet Sentinel and I am always blown away by the love and dedication that pet owners have towards their best friends. I thought in this blog I would address a lot of the common questions that came up during our discussion. A common question was “Can I store the extra cells for use in the future?” So if you and your veterinarian have chosen stem cell therapy as the right choice for your pet, then you already understand the basic process: your vet will collect a small fat sample, the lab purifies out the stem cells, and then they are injected back into the painful joint. But that is not the end of the story.
Most of the time there are more cells than needed for the initial treatments. The lab will save any extra stem cells from the process, and can freeze them in a very special manner to preserve them for the future (called cryopreservation). They are stored in liquid nitrogen, at minus 180 degrees! This process essentially puts the cells in suspended animation and they sleep until we need them in the future. Then we have a special method to thaw, rinse, and prepare them for a new injection. As an example, if your pet had arthritis in an elbow and was treated, they might need stem cell therapy in the future when they have a sports injury or trauma of the knee. They could then be thawed and immediately shipped to your veterinarian for injection – no fat collection needed! This is called stem cell banking, and is similar to the process used for umbilical cord blood stem cell banking in people.