A new stem cell therapy has been approved by the European Union for the treatment of mild to moderate lameness in horses. This therapy will be well-received, particularly by owners of older horses, who tend to become lame as they age.
Developed by Global Stem Cell Technology (GSC), Arti-Cell Fortem contains "chondrogenic induced equine allogeneic peripheral blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells."
I'm going to translate that and extend it a bit: The treatment includes an injection of multipurpose stem cells derived from the blood of another horse into the joint of a lame horse, that allows the growth of new cartilage in that joint for the purpose of strengthening the joint.
The injection, trademarked Arti-Cell Fortem, can be used for one of the most frequently weakened joints, the fetlock joint, illustrated below.
In fact, GSC conducted a study of horses with lame fetlock joints. The study group received one injection of Arti-Cell Forte along with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID); the other group received a placebo. After six weeks, the Arti-Cell Forte showed "significant improvement" in the joints compared with the placebo group. This improvement remained for up to a year in the Arti-Cell Forte group.
Arti-Cell Forte is now working with the European Commission for a decision on an EU-wide marketing authorization. Hopefully, the U.S. and other countries are attempting to trial Arti-Cell Forte so their horses can take benefit from this advanced therapy. Compared to the adverse side effects of current treatments, the only side effects experienced by the test group on Arti-Cell Forte were "mild increases in lameness and mild increases in temperature and swelling at the injection site in the first week of administration."