So I would have to get the bone marrow stem cells directly from them?
I agree, I am in awe myself, seeing a dog that was falling down the stairs jumping into a pretty high truck. I have seen the video of a mouse improving, but this is a big animal. And thinking of the hope the treatment offers many animals and humans - it is simply humbling. I am sure everybody who lost a dog to DM (i did) will understand.
This is so new that it has not been published anywhere yet (I just made the movie last week). There is another GSD who is a similar amazing success story (I have his movie), but that 's it. I am hoping that these successes will help raising funds to broaden the research.
Milo12 ... are you sure your dog has DM? What did your vet do to diagnose it? DM is a disease of exclusion and a week sounds like a short time from noticing the first symptom to reaching a diagnosis.
Dr. Clemmons has been doing a limited number of stem cell transplants, on dogs that have advanced DM, in the hopes that this treatment might help dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy. However, he has found that we cannot expect them to be the miracle that everyone thought and hoped they might be. With all that was being said about stem cells, it sounded like they would be able to recreate every organ. The answer is "No, they can’t." Stem cells can be made in the test tube to do certain things. They can be made to develop certain structures and in that sense, might be useful. However, there are a few problems. If you want to use histocompatible stem cells so that anti-rejection drugs are not also needed, they must come from the individual. Mesenchymal stem cells are able to do that. However, they are as old as the patient and therefore not as robust. They can be coaxed into becoming things, but only to a limited degree and they have limited life-span. Of course, making embryonic stem cells from the individual would be great, as mentioned in the news as of late, but that turned out to be a hoax. If you use embryonic stem cells, they are more robust, but that can lead to other problems not mentioned. So, we are probably going to try fetal stem cells to see if we can find the happy medium.
Even so, while stem cells can be found to lay down and even become neurons in some cases, no one has shown that they become functional. What is known is that certain conditions improve. What we think is happening is that the stem cells provide factors which help reduce acute problems and kick start the nervous systems ability to heal which has been impeded by the formation of glial scarring. Unfortunately, it appears that this benefit, like we see with many things, is limited. While repeated stem cell injections provide minor additional effects, they begin to wear off. Whether fetal cells will be more beneficial or whether it is only the nerve growth factors that are needed remains to be seen. Dr. Clemmons is discouraged that they did not turn out to be the "cure", but we have learned a lot and that might, in the long run, turn out to be the most important thing. We need to complete our study and since Dr. Clemmons has been open about his research findings, it is getting harder to recruit people. They know that it might not be the answer, from what we already have found.