Policy addresses therapeutic use of stem cells, regenerative medicine

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The AVMA House of Delegates passed a new policy July 21 on "Therapeutic Use of Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine."

According to the policy: "Regenerative medicine is defined as the use of biological therapies including platelet rich-plasma, pluripotent stem cells, and multipotent stem cells to effect therapeutic benefit in disease states. While regenerative medicine holds promise of improvements in the treatment of a variety of diseases, many of which lack adequately effective treatments, questions remain. The AVMA supports the continued scientific development of these modalities while at the same time encouraging its members to employ caution with respect to their use.

"While data continue to accumulate suggesting therapeutic benefit from regenerative medicine, published peer-reviewed studies definitively documenting benefit are still lacking for many diseases. Nor has a scientific consensus for stem cell type, stem cell origin, dosage, transfer media, or method of administration been developed for each disease being treated. Despite these scientific insufficiencies, the adoption of regenerative medicine in the veterinary profession has grown rapidly. Unfortunately, some therapies being propounded and the processes and equipment being sold have outpaced the science which supports them. Veterinarians have few guidelines and limited resources for differentiating valid and effective therapies from ones which have insufficient data supporting the processes and/or therapies. Therefore, it is incumbent upon veterinarians engaged in regenerative therapies to be well versed in the emerging science of the field in order to successfully select the specific therapeutic protocols, processes, equipment, and vendors most likely to result in clinical benefit for their patients."

The policy lists nine considerations for use of regenerative medicine by veterinarians.

Related JAVMA content:

AVMA to deliberate on assistance animals, stem cells (June 1, 2017)

FDA finalizes guidance on cell-based products in animals (July 15, 2015)

Stem cells in theory & practice (Feb. 15, 2011)