By American Farriers Journal Staff

The Morris Animal Foundation’s research into equine stem cell research recently received a boost in the form of a $10,000 grant from the American Farrier’s Association (AFA).

The quality of the patient’s stem cells, as well as the time it takes to culture them limits stem cell treatments. In addition, a patient’s immune system can perceive the donor cells as a foreign invader and reject them. The study, conducted by North Carolina State University veterinarian Alix Berglund, is focused on “developing new culture techniques that will help stem cells avoid detection by the immune system, thereby allowing for safe and efficacious therapy in horses using donor stem cells.”

The research will be in conjunction with the work of NC State veterinarian Lauren Schnabel and Matthew Fisher, an assistant professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at NC State and the University of North Carolina.

“Stem cell therapies have the potential to improve the outcome of severe and potentially life-ending musculoskeletal diseases in horses, including those of the distal limb and foot,” says Berglund, a Morris Animal Foundation fellow. “In particular, stem cells have shown promise for the treatment of deep digital flexor tendon lesions associated with navicular syndrome and for the treatment of laminitis.”

Roxanne Davis, director of organizational giving for Morris Animal Foundation, expressed appreciation toward the AFA for its grant

“The foundation is deeply appreciative of the American Farrier’s Association’s investment in regenerative therapy research, which holds great promise for improving the lives of horses,” she says. “Together, we are advancing equine health by supporting the development of new treatments for devastating diseases and injuries.”