Is Gene Therapy The Cure For Bowed Tendons?

A British study has used gene therapy to successfully cure horse’s lameness from torn ligaments and tendons. Injecting plasmid DNA into the tear allowed blood vessels to develop within the tissue and the tissue grew back, leaving no scar tissue. A significant discovery, this type of treatment can effectively allow a  previously injured horse to walk, trot and canter soundly.

Published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology, the research was a project between the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, Kazan Federal University and Moscow State Academy.

It is believed that this research can be applied to human and other facets of veterinary medicine as well, helping multiple other species with ligament and tendon tears.

Prior to this treatment, relapse occurred in about 60 percent of the cases of torn tendons and ligaments in horses, or the therapy took multiple months to work. The research team used horse genes to create the new therapy, ensuring that the proteins being synthesized didn’t cause any unwanted immune reaction.

The eight horses used in the study had naturally gone lame and were painful. Just a few weeks after the administration of the gene therapy, the horses were no longer in pain and eight of the horses used were back to their previous level of work.

Because gene therapy has a high rate of healing, a low chance of relapse and because it works quickly, researchers are calling it a significant medical discovery.

Read more at HorseTalk.

Read the full study at Frontiers in Pharmacology.

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