Currently, no medical treatments have been shown to delay the progression of chronic valvular disease (CVD) in dogs, which is a very common heart disease in dogs. In this disease, heart valves become thickened and can no longer keep blood from leaking backwards, leading to fluid accumulation in the lungs (congestive heart failure, CHF). Surgical repair of the valves has shown potential in reversing some changes from the heart disease and prolonging survival time, but this remains a relatively high-risk surgery that very few veterinary hospitals are capable of performing. The cost of the procedure is also financially prohibitive to most dog owners.
If we can show that mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) treatment is not only safe but can delay the progression of CVD in dogs, this would be the first non-surgical treatment option available to our canine patients. Our results would also have particular relevance for those human patients who cannot undergo valve repair surgery due to unacceptable anesthetic or surgical risks.
For more information regarding this study please visit: http://sites.tufts.edu/vetclinicaltrials/