Clients & Visitors

The Regenerative Medicine Service TM:
Healing on a Cellular Level

RegenMed

Regenerative Medicine harnesses the power of the body’s own cells and proteins to promote healing. The goal of regenerative medicine is to bring injured tissue back to its original pristine condition; to regenerate the tissue rather than to scar. Tissues such as tendon, ligament, cartilage, and bone can benefit. Some of the tools in regenerative medicine include stem cells, platelet rich plasma (PRP), and proteins such as growth factors and interleukin receptor antagonist or IRAP. All of these therapies are available through the Regenerative Medicine Service at the EMC.

The Regenerative Medicine Service offers a myriad of regenerative therapies to promote healing for both horses and dogs. Our Regenerative Medicine Service can be used for equine patients at our facility, or for any dog or horse, through their own veterinarian. Veterinarians are welcome to contact us for information about using the Regenerative Medicine Service through their own practices at RegenMed@vt.edu.

Small animal patients have been treated for both tendon and joint injury through multiple small animal clinics, including Veterinary Orthopedics and Sports Medicine (VOSM). Visit the VOSM website to learn more about our collaborative small animal clinical research program.

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Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

View the flow chart to see how this type of therapy is used.

Platelets circulate in blood and are responsible for initiating the clotting process and healing following injury. Platelets become “activated” when exposed to a wound which causes them to release substances called growth factors that begin and sustain healing. These growth factors are powerful proteins that recruit healing cells and new blood vessels to sites of injury, and allow the cells to heal the injury. PRP, or platelet rich plasma, is a blood product prepared by concentrating the patient’s platelets in plasma while removing other cells. Therapeutic PRP injections have been shown to enhance and accelerate the body’s own healing mechanism for numerous types of injuries including ligament injuries. PRP is available for horses and dogs through our Regenerative Medicine Service.

Cell Therapy

View the flow chart to see how this type of therapy is used.

Stem cells and progenitor cells are extraordinary because they can grow and divide many times, while other cells in the body that have become functionally specialized cannot. Stem cells are also remarkable because they are able to form multiple types of tissue, for example cartilage, bone, or tendon, through a process of specialization called differentiation. The use of the body’s own stem cells is a promising therapy for tendon, ligament, and soft tissue injuries. Cells can be isolated from bone marrow and then grown to adequate quantities in our laboratory. Enough cells can be grown so that a surplus can be saved for future use. These cells possess the ability to multiply and give rise to the specific type of tissue that has been damaged, thus allowing for accelerated and natural healing to occur. They also inhibit inflammation and recruit other stem cells into the lesion. We recommend this therapy for tendon and joint injuries. Bone marrow is an excellent source for stem cells, and we can process bone marrow samples for therapeutic use in both horses and dogs through the Regenerative Medicine Service. Other sources, such as fat and umbilical cord blood, can also be used to provide cells for regenerative therapy.

IRAPTM II

View the flow chart to see how this type of therapy is used.

IRAPTM II therapy was developed to counteract the inflammatory protein, interleukin-1, which is produced at high levels in inflamed or diseased joints. Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is a common cause of lameness in equine patients and may be successfully treated using IRAPTM II therapy. The procedure involves sterile removal of approximately 50 ml of blood that is then processed overnight and separated into several samples for multiple injections over a given time span. This processed serum contains beneficial growth factors, as well as a protein that inhibits interleukin-1, namely, Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein (IRAP). IRAPTM II is available at the EMC for equine patients with joint disease, osteoarthritis, or synovitis.

About Regenerative Medicine Service Appointments

  • The EMC's Regenerative Medicine Service is available to all clients, whether they are referred by their family veterinarian or wish to schedule services directly.
  • The Regenerative Medicine Service also provides cells, PRP, and IRAP for outside veterinary clinics for both horses and dogs.
  • For an appointment or for more information, call (703) 771-6800 or email RegenMed@vt.edu.
  • The Client Care packet offers more information about the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center Client Care Packet. (PDF)

Leading the EMC's Regenerative Medicine Service

Dr. Jennifer Barrett

Dr. Jennifer Barrett directs the EMC's Regenerative Medicine Service at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center. In addition to her work at the EMC, Dr. Barrett serves on the Board of Directors of the North American Regenerative Medicine Association. Dr. Barrett is motivated by a sincere love of animals to push the envelope of regenerative therapies. Her vision is to make the most current validated regenerative medicine treatments available to both equines and canines at a reasonable cost.

Regenerative Medicine Service Staff

Laurie Fahl Laurie Fahl, MT(ASCP), MBA
Manager
Laurie joined the EMC in July 2006 and started working in the clinical laboratory before moving to the Regenerative Medicine Service. Prior to coming to the EMC, Laurie spent 15 years in a hospital as a medical technologist with emphasis in hematology and coagulation, and 15 years in the medical diagnostics industry working in clinical trial management in coagulation, stem cell technology, and pharmaceuticals. Laurie started riding at age 9 and showed hunters for 15 years. She and her husband are Virginia Tech alumni.


Ibtesam Rajpar Ibtesam (Sam) Rajpar, MS
Laboratory Technician
Ibtesam (Sam) joined the EMC in August 2012. Prior to joining the biomedical research laboratory staff at the EMC, she graduated with a masters in biotechnology from Georgetown university. Thereafter she spent a year working at the University of Virginia in the department of microbiology and immunology, as a research specialist with emphasis on recombinant DNA technology. She also has brief experience working for the biotechnology industry, during the course of her masters program.



Sara Stapp Sara Stapp
Laboratory Technician
Sara joined the Regenerative Medicine Service in June 2011. Prior to joining the team at the EMC, she worked in pre-clinical contract research as a necropsy and histology technician. Her professional experience also includes resource management, specimen photography, and textbook illustration. Sara is a Virginia Tech alumna and participated on the equestrian team while working toward her biology and equine production degrees.

From the Winner's Circle

Invite Moonlight's Story

Invite Moonlight

Invite Moonlight, now a 10-year old Quarterhorse, took top honors at the 2007 NSBA World Championship, held in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo: Larry Williams

Invite Moonlight was diagnosed with lameness from a bone cyst in her left front coffin bone ... obviously, not news a horse owner wants to receive! But, fortunately, the specialists at the Equine Medical Center offer a cutting-edge treatment plan that involves stem cells. The EMC's specialists collected a sample of Invite Moonlight's bone marrow from which millions of stem cells were grown. The stem cells were injected into her coffin joint to help stimulate healing and provide pain relief. Throughout the treatment and recovery—which only took a few months—we and her trainer followed the EMC's medical advice to the letter. In almost no time, she was better and stronger than ever—I sometimes refer to her as "bionic!" Just recently, she placed in the top ten in the Senior Western Pleasure Division at the AQHA World Championship Show. She's back into full training and will be participating extensively in this year's show circuit. Her medical treatment at the EMC made a tremendous difference for her; we are thrilled with the results.

Cecilia Hylton
Hylton Quarterhorses
Gainesville, VA

Resources

The following articles offer more information about regenerative medicine at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center.