1. What is the difference between mesenchymal stem therapy and HUC-DT℠?
Mesenchymal stem cell therapy is the stem cell therapy most commonly used before the introduction of HUC-DT℠. With mesenchymal stem cell therapy (MST), a pet has to be placed under anesthesia, fat cells are extracted, the cells are then sent to a lab where they were processed and sometimes incubated or stimulated with chemicals, and the cells are sent back to the veterinarian. The patient then has to be anesthetized again and the cells are then infused into the location where they are needed. This is a time consuming and costly process, not to mention painful to the dog and the pet has to undergo the dangers of anesthesia twice. On average with mesenchymal therapy, approximately 1000 cells per ml are injected and because these cells had to be extracted from fat and processed, the injection is not pure and can contain particles of broken down fat and lysed cells. This leads to higher potential for injection reaction.
Conversely with HUC-DT℠, anesthesia is not necessary, the procedure does not involve surgery, and the cells injected are pure cells meaning there is a lower chance for reactions. Our proprietary fractionation process provides nearly 5 million stem cells per milliliter; the higher cell volume maximizes the effect of the stem cells. On average, the infusion process takes less than 30 minutes, and the entire process is minimally stressful.
2. Are there any side effects?
To date, there have been no negative side effects to our therapy. Intravenous infusions require an IV catheter to be placed, so the most uncomfortable part of the procedure. The intra-articular joint injections require a needle to be inserted into the joint. Sometimes the increase in pressure inside the joint immediately following the injection causes some mild discomfort, but this dissipates as the cells begin to migrate from the injection site.
3. Is there any risk of transferring DNA in stem cell therapy?
Absolutely not, this is not scientifically possible. There cannot be a transfer of DNA through stem cells.
4. How long do the stem cells live?
On average, studies show the cells replicate every 28 hours for 65 generations. And remain active in the body for up to 6 months after the injection.
5. How long will it be before I see an effect?
On average, most of our patients begin to see results around 4-6 weeks after therapy. However, most of our clients start to notice small changes in behavior in the first couple of weeks. The full effect of the HUC-DT℠ may take 6 months to be fully seen.
6. What if HUC-DT℠ doesn’t work for my pet?
We are committed to improving the quality of life of our patients. If clients are not satisfied with the results from HUC-DT℠, our certified veterinarians will work directly with you to explore other treatment options. They will also determine if a second injection of cells may be of benefit, and this secondary therapy will be at a reduced cost.
7. Are the results guaranteed?
While HUC-DT℠ is state of the art, an effect cannot be guaranteed. This is because stem cells are living cells capable of moving throughout the body and they have the potential to do whatever the body signals for them to do. The cells are drawn in to areas of inflammation by natural chemicals released by the body during times of injury and inflammation. The stem cells migrate to these areas and set down a matrix where they begin influencing the natural healing processes of the body. Just because the cells are injected into a knee that is painful does not mean they will stay there; if there is a place in the body that has a higher demand for the cells, they will be drawn to that location. This is the reason we can do intravenous infusions and approximate site injections in our patients versus having to put the cells in the exactly where they need to be within a joint. Stem cells are not medicine, they are a natural biologic that aids in the anti-inflammatory and regeneration processes of the body. Because they are alive and dynamic, exact results cannot be guaranteed; however, most patients notice change with their pet in some way within the first 6 weeks post therapy.
8. How often do I have to do injections?
For most of our patients, a single joint injection or a single IV infusion is all that is needed to get results from HUC-DT℠. This is in part due to our high 5 million cell per milliliter cell volume. If a patient does not have adequate results, a second injection can be performed approximately 6 months after the initial injection.
9. How can you give human cells to a dog? Are they going to grow human tissue?
All mammals carry out body processes through a series cellular mediators. Interestingly, across most mammalian species, the same cellular mediators are used. In fact, the genetic sequence of all mammals is nearly 98-99% conserved and similar between species. These mediators, such as cytokines and interleukins, are at the highest level in areas of inflammation. These mediators regulate the inflammation and healing process. This means that we can inject human stem cells into canine patients and these cells will migrate in response to the canine cellular mediators. The human cells do not start generating new tissues, but instead begin to fight inflammation and stimulate the canines natural dormant stem cells to start healing the area. The science of HUC-DT℠ uses the natural function of human stem cells to stimulate the natural function of dormant canine stem cells to promote healing and to decrease inflammation.
10. Are there any conditions that would prevent my pet from having stem cell therapy?
HUC-DT℠ should be used cautiously in pets with neurological conditions, heart failure, those undergoing active cancer treatment (1 year post treatment is fine), those with low platelets or immunodeficiency, pets that are pregnant or lactating, those with uncontrolled systemic disease (such as unregulated diabetes), pets with low hemoglobin, or those receiving Mannitol therapy. If your pet has experienced any of these problems, please inform and consult your HUC-DT℠ certified veterinarian to discuss if HUC-DT℠ is right for your pet.
11. How long does the procedure take?
The IV infusion takes less than 30 minutes and the joint injection takes less than 15 minutes.
12. Who is a good candidate for stem cell therapy?
HUC-DT℠ works especially well in patients that have degenerative joint disease (arthritis), disc herniation or intervertebral disc disease, those with systemic inflammatory conditions (such as severe skin allergies or lupus), pets on high doses of pain medication without much relief, and those receiving glucosamine injections for stiffness and arthritis.
13. What is the typical recovery for my pet?
Immediately post-injection your pet should be allowed only light, necessary, leash restricted exercise. No high impact activities such as running, jumping, or playing fetch should be allowed. It is best to promote some motion and leash exercise than being completely sedentary. In the early weeks of regenerative healing, your body’s natural inflammatory process will use cytokines, leukocytes, proteins and inflammation to create a “scaffold” for the cells to bind to. Light rounds of swimming are great exercise 7 days post injection. After 4 weeks your pet can go back to 50% of the normal (pre-infusion) walks as long as they are controlled on a leash and longer duration swimming. After 6 weeks, your pet can start going on leash controlled runs. After 2 months post injection, your pet can go back to 100% normal activity.
14. What costs are involved with HUC-DT℠?
The average cost of HUC-DT℠ infusion is $2000. Some conditions may require fewer or higher volumes of stem cells, and your certified HUC-DT℠ veterinarian at your consultation appointment will be able to give you an exact estimate for the therapy. Before the therapy, bloodwork will be conducted to screen for any underlying diseases and radiographs will be taken to screen for cancer and to get a better idea of any specific joints that may need therapy. Clients will be required to pay for stem therapy before cells are ordered; once the cells leave the lab they are unable to be returned and are only viable for 24 hours. For this reason, when you set up your infusion appointment, all fees must be paid in full and are non-refundable. You may reschedule your infusion appointment 48 hours before the infusion date without loss of your deposit.
15. Can my local veterinarian do HUC-DT℠?
In a very small percentage of our patients, we occasionally see a minor reaction of flu-like symptoms. This does not last more than 24 to 48 hours. Actually, this could be beneficial because it demonstrates the cells’ anti-inflammatory and immune-privilege potential.
16. Are there any contraindications to a patient receiving stem cells?
Only HUC-DT℠certified veterinarians can perform HUC-DT℠. All of our certified veterinarians have undergone extensive stem cell therapy training and have been hand selected. This is to ensure that your pet receives the best, most consistent care, regardless of which certified hospital you choose visit.
17. How many cells is my pet given and how do you know?
Each milliliter of stem cells used for joint infusion or IV infusion contains nearly 5 million stem cells. This has been verified via a Flow Cytometry machine that counts the viable cells and we also have a third-party lab test the cells to verify the count for us. This is a level of quality control we undergo to make sure each pet is getting the highest quality cell infusion possible.
18. Where are the stem cells grown?
We don’t grow the stem cells. It is not legal to grow stem cells and FDA guidelines state they must be minimally manipulated and handled in specific ways. Our cells are harvested from donated cord blood from healthy mothers. Our proprietary fractionation process minimally manipulates cells giving us a very pure, high quality cellular sample. Our process, in short, involves our laboratories spinning the cord blood, collecting the buffy coat, counting the cells, testing them, fractionating the cells, and then freeze them.
19. Is HUC-DT℠ FDA approved?
The FDA does not approve or disapprove HUC-DT℠ or any stem cell therapy in pets or humans, but they do set specific guidelines all or our laboratories have to follow. The process of our stem cells meets all of the FDA current guidelines. Our labs and tissue banks are overseen by the FDA, the National Institute of Health, the American Association of Tissue Banks and the American Association of Blood Banks. We also have an on-staff expert in regulatory affairs who stays current and oversees all regulatory guidelines.
20. Are there any side effects of human umbilical cord therapy?
In a very small percentage of patients, we occasionally see a minor reaction of flu-like symptoms. This does not last more than 24 to 48 hours maximum. Actually, we like to see this because it demonstrates the cells’ anti-inflammatory and immune-privilege potential. Your pet may experience some discomfort when the joints are directly infused (such as the knee) due to the initial increase in pressure within the joint. This effect dissipates quickly and normally with 48 hours any discomfort from the injection has resolved. As of today, we have not seen any reaction to the IV infusions.
21. Where do the human umbilical cord stem cells come from?
The human umbilical cord stem cells are collected from hospitals across the United States. The mother signs a consent form, donating the umbilical cord blood to the hospital. The blood is sent to laboratory where the stem cells are extracted and packaged meeting all of the FDA guidelines. These cells are then used in multiple life saving procedures and therapies. Only cord blood cells from healthy mothers and babies are accepted; these are pure cells, fully tested, washed, rinsed, and flash frozen with no chemicals added.