Gene ther­apy used to treat ten­dons

Horse & Hound - - News Insider - 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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