Dr. Bob Harman, CEO of VetStem Biopharma, Speaks on Stem Cells at Local Rotary Club
Stem Cells are no longer the way of the future- they are the way of the present. With their ability to improve the quality of healing and reduce scar tissue formation, more and more human surgeons are adopting stem cells as a method of treatment.
Dr. Bob Harman, founder and CEO of VetStem Biopharma, Inc. spent an afternoon speaking at his local San Diego Rotary Club. The event entitled “Stem Cells and Their Regenerative Powers,” was held on August 31st, 2017 in San Diego, CA and had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two human doctors: Peter B. Hanson, M.D., Chief of Orthopedic Surgery, Grossmont Hospital and Darryl D’Lima MD, PhD, Director of Orthopedic Research, Shiley Center for Orthopedic Research and Education.
Dr. Harman’s talk centered on the use of stem cells in veterinary medicine. At VetStem Biopharma, the primary indications for stem cells are osteoarthritis as well as bone and soft tissue injuries in the dog, horse, and cat. While VetStem has been providing this service to veterinarians across the United States and Canada since 2004, human doctors have not adopted this treatment modality as quickly.
Although VetStem specializes in veterinary medicine, ongoing development of the technology may have larger implications for stem cell use in human medicine. One might ask, “If stem cells can help my dog’s hip osteoarthritis, could it help mine?” The answer is likely yes. Dr. Harman presents regularly at human stem cell conferences, sharing VetStem data and findings. With data compiled from over 13,000 veterinary patients, VetStem has a lot to share. Dr. Harman has also authored and co-authored several papers and book chapters on both human and veterinary stem cells.
In an effort to make stem cell therapy less costly and more accessible, Dr. Harman and his team are working toward FDA approval of an “off-the-shelf,” or allogeneic (donor derived), stem cell product. VetStem completed a landmark double-blinded, multi-site, placebo-controlled field efficacy study in 2016 which enrolled approximately 90 dogs with osteoarthritis. The dogs, who received a single intra-articular injection of stem cells, demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in treatment versus placebo (p<0.05). The primary endpoint was treatment success based on the Client-Specific Outcome Measurement (CSOM) on day 60 as compared to day 0. Additionally, the veterinary assessment of pain showed a statistically significant improvement in the stem cell treated dogs compared to the controls. To further development, VetStem is currently conducting a pivotal FDA clinical study of osteoarthritis in the dog with an expected completion date of late 2017. With these results, VetStem hopes to receive FDA approval of the canine allogeneic stem cell product in 2018-19.