Regenerative Medicine – STEM Cells
Barrett: STEM cells are a little bit like in a sports team, having the bench. And so, they’re sitting on the bench waiting to be needed for healing and repair.
And when it comes to healing, each of us has a team of STEM cell bench team players, waiting in reserve. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Barrett: Being a professor and a practicing veterinarian, I do both research and I treat the horses. So, in our research field, we’re very interested in using STEM cells and other regenerative medicine therapies to treat orthopedic injuries in horses, dogs, and our hope is that this will translate into the human medical field.
Doctor Jennifer Barrett is an Associate Professor at Virginia Tech’s Marion Dupont Scott Equine Medical Center.
Barrett: What we’ve learned since the ’50s, is that there are actually stem cells present in adult humans and animals. So, you don’t have to go to the embryo to get a source of STEM cells. So, in each person, in each animal’s body, each of the tissues has a store of these STEM cells that help to rebuild that tissue after injury.
Barrett: An example of where you could get a STEM cell from in me or you is your bone marrow or your fat tissue, and those STEM cells are able to make many things in the body, but they have more defined things that they can become. They can’t be everything. What interests me is that these types of stem cells can make musculo-skeletal tissues, and since I’m interested in sports medicine and orthopedics, I find them to be a very powerful tool in helping healing.
Using STEM Cells, Dr. Barrett has helped many horses and dogs heal from their injuries and she says the same procedures may one day translate to humans. We’ll hear more in future programs. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.