Horse & Hound

Gene therapy used to treat tendons

- EJ

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”.

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