Regenerative medicine

Saint Francis is home to the region’s first canine-validated regenerative medicine laboratory which offers stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma treatments for patients. Regenerative services are led by Hannah McLean, DVM, DACVSMR, who is Board Certified in Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.

We process your pet’s own bone marrow-derived stem cells and platelet-rich plasma, which allows us to use your pet’s own cells in his or her therapy.

Stem cells have three defining properties: they are capable of dividing and renewing themselves for long periods; they are unspecialized; and they can give rise to specialized cell types.  In short, they have the ability to differentiate into cartilage, bone, tendons and ligaments for repair and regeneration. These attributes make them useful in the treatment of soft tissue like tendons and ligaments, osteoarthritis, post surgical repair, and spinal conditions.

Primary functions of stem cells for regenerative therapy include:

  • Regenerate and heal injured tissue
  • Decrease inflammation (anti-inflammatory)
  • Stimulate new blood supply (angiogenesis)
  • Activate resident stem cells (chemotactic for progenitor cells)
  • Stimulate healing and tissue growth (supply growth factors)
  • Create a scaffold for healing tissues (form an extracellular matrix)
  • Protect cells from death (anti-apoptosis)
  • Break down scar tissue in chronic conditions (anti-fibrotic)

Bone marrow-derived stem cells are typically obtained under a brief anesthesia or heavy sedation. A needle is inserted into the medullary cavity (center of the bone) and the cells are aspirated with a syringe.

Stem cells are then injected under ultrasound or arthroscopic guidance.  Injections are performed under sedation or a brief anesthesia as an outpatient procedure.

Quality of care

In more than 30 years of veterinary practice, there isn’t much we haven’t seen and successfully treated. In fact, our work handling very complicated cases across many disciplines has been featured in local, regional and national news programs over the years.

On occasion, though, in order to coordinate a superior level of care that is enhanced by the wisdom, expertise and experience of additional professionals with unique capabilities, we may refer to or work with doctors and specialists at other local hospitals on particular cases.  The goal in these instances is to bring together the very best veterinary minds in the region to care for pets in need.