Horse & Hound
Gene therapy used to treat tendons
RESEARCHERS working on treating tendon and ligament injuries with gene therapy say they have had encouraging results.
Scientists from the University of Nottingham have been working with academics from the Kazan Federal University and the Moscow State Academy of Veterinary Medicine and Biotechnology on injecting DNA into damaged areas.
Following a study concerning two horses, which was published last year, this further project involved 10 injured animals, “most” of whom returned to their previous level of work “within a very short time”.
Lead scientist Dr Albert Rizvanov said the treatment could have implications for other animals and humans, while vet Milomir Kovac added: “Our gene therapy worked within just a few weeks. Therefore it has a high rate of healing, a low chance of relapse and it works quickly — a significant medical discovery.”
Mark Bowen, CEO of the British Equine Veterinary Association, told H&H it is “always exciting” to see innovative technologies in development.
“These early results look encouraging and interesting,” he said. “Tendon repair is, however, notoriously difficult to assess and significant reductions in longterm re-injury rates following return to full athletic function would be needed for this approach to gain credibility in the field.
“It should also be noted that equestrian sports may well apply significant restrictions to the use of gene therapy in competition horses”.