Bypassing the Pluripotent Stage
“In a groundbreaking study published in the science journal Nature in November 2010, Eva Szabo, Ph.D., Mickie Bhatia, Ph.D., and a team of other scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario in Canada demonstrated the ability to generate hematopoietic progenitors and mature cells, also known as blood cells, directly from dermal, or skin, fibroblasts by bypassing the pluripotent stage. Since the pluripotent stage causes cells to differentiate into one of many cell types, bypassing this stage allows red blood cells to be directly produced.”
“During the two year study funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, the Stem Cell Network and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, researchers discovered that by adding the OCT4 gene and a group of proteins commonly referred to as blood transcription factors to skin cell samples, various types of blood cells including red blood cells (RBC’s), white blood cells (WBC’s), and platelets can be made from skin cells.”
Current Clinical Trials at Penn Vet
“We propose to evaluate markers of inflammation, hemolysis, and endothelial activation in a randomized clinical trial in which client-owned dogs with primary immune-mediate hemolytic anemia would receive fresh or old RBCs.
The shelf-life of stored red blood cells (RBCs) is typically 42 and 35 days for human and canine RBCs, respectively. Given that blood is a precious and limited resource, both human and veterinary blood banks typically dispense the oldest RBC units first to reduce wastage.
However, accumulating evidence suggests that transfusion of RBCs stored ≥ 14 days is associated with increased rates of morbidity and mortality in hospitalized human patients.”
snip>”We propose to evaluate markers of inflammation, hemolysis, and endothelial activation in a randomized clinical trial in which client-owned dogs with primary immune-mediate hemolytic anemia (IMHA) would receive fresh (stored <7 days) or old (stored 21-28 days) RBCs. If we document that transfusion of “older” RBCs to dogs with IMHA is associated with an increased inflammatory response, as well as increased morbidity and mortality, this study will have a significant impact on canine health and veterinary blood banks by changing our current transfusion practice; that is, by providing “fresh” rather than “older” RBCs to anemic canine patients.”
Trial Duration: January 2014-December 2015
“Veterinary transfusion medicine and blood banks have come a long way from their inception, experts say, but room for growth remains.
Though these facets of veterinary medicine offer advancements that do not exist in human medicine, the profession lags in its ability to offer frequent platelet transfusions and in widespread education on the uses of blood components.”
>snip“Vets don’t know what to do with blood that has been thawed but then isn’t needed, or the warmed or opened bags,” says Ann Schneider, DVM, director of Eastern Veterinary Blood Bank in Severna Park, Md.
“Jean Dodds, DVM, founder of HemoPet in Garden Grove, Calif., says blood components like plasma are fully active for clotting factor replacement, antibodies and other plasma proteins for one year after collection. But plasma still can be used for four more years for all needs except clotting factor activity. Because this isn’t widely known, gallons of plasma are needlessly wasted every year.”
>snip “Dr. Dodds says the experts are realizing that veterinarians often don’t understand what plasma is good for.
“Veterinarians could be using plasma to combat parvovirus, treat heatstroke, snakebites and spider bites, and to use as a supplement to or in replacement of colostrum for neonatal cases,” Dodds says. “For neonates, the plasma can be absorbed orally for the first 36 hours, and it works like a charm, giving puppies antibodies to boost maternal immunity and help prevent neonatal infections. Dobermans with Von Willebrand disease can benefit from fresh-frozen plasma as long as the donor has a high level of Von Willebrand factor.”
The reason plasma and other blood components may not be used to their full capability lies with the lack of practical clinical information available to veterinarians. In addition, clinicians have few opportunities to attend blood banking seminars and related university continuing education, Dodds says.
“Blood is the elixir of life,” Dodds says. “Its use as a source of antibodies to help fight disease is largely untapped. I also find that veterinarians don’t consider using the patient’s blood collected by intraoperative salvage. In the case of a chest or abdomen bleed, the blood can be taken out, filtered and replaced in almost all cases, excluding those involving massive sepsis or cancer.”
Another area of underutilization of plasma is for chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and pancreatitis. Trypsin leaking from the inflamed pancreas into the abdominal cavity can be neutralized by peritoneal lavage of plasma, containing alpha 1-antitrypsin, to counteract trypsin digestion of the bowel and other abdominal structures, Dodds says.”
Further Evaluation of the Benefits of a Traditional Chinese Medicine Supplement for Dogs with Splenic Hemangiosarcoma
“In a previous study conducted here at PennVet, the mushroom supplement I’m-Yunity® significantly increased survival time in dogs with splenic hemangiosarcoma. I’m-Yunity® extract effectively delivers the standardized ingredient polysaccharopeptide (PSP) which can only be isolated from the Coriolus Versicolor mushroom.
In this new trial, we will be comparing I’m-Yunity’s® effect on survival time and quality of life to the standard chemotherapy treatment.”