Press Releases

VetStem Biopharma is Pleased to Share the Success Story of Makalia who was Treated with Stem Cell Therapy by Dr. Adam Gassel at Southern California Veterinary Specialty Hospital

Makalia, a golden retriever, was successfully treated for severe osteoarthritis in both elbows with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy by Dr. Adam Gassel.

2018-05-01 --

At a young age Makalia was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia which leads to osteoarthritis.  Though her left elbow was worse and caused her to limp, Makalia had dysplasia in both elbows.  At two years old, Makalia had arthroscopy in her left elbow and her veterinarian stated that the right elbow would eventually need the surgery as well. 

Throughout the years and despite having had surgery, Makalia would limp on and off.  She primarily limped on her left front leg, the leg that had arthroscopy.  Her owners managed her pain with medication for several years.  When Makalia was eight years old, she began limping on her right front leg.  The limp got progressively worse until she was completely lame on that leg.  After a failed round of laser therapy, Dr. Adam Gassel of Southern California Veterinary Specialty Hospital recommended arthroscopy in conjunction with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.  He planned to treat both elbows with stem cells to help with the osteoarthritis after performing arthroscopy on the right elbow. 

In October of 2017, Makalia underwent a minimally invasive procedure in which a small amount of fat was collected from her abdomen.  At the same time, Dr. Gassel performed arthroscopy on her right elbow.  Her fat tissue was shipped overnight to the VetStem laboratory in San Diego, California.  The fat was processed and quality checks were performed before injectable doses of Makalia’s stem cells were shipped back to Dr. Gassel.  Approximately 48 hours after Makalia’s fat collection, she received her stem cell injections into both elbows and intravenously.

In a 90 day follow up evlauation, Makalia’s owners noted that she was no longer lame.  Her stiffness, pain, and energy level had improved and she was no longer having problems walking or jumping.  Her owner stated, “I didn’t realize how much pain she was in because now she is a new dog. Happier and playful again.”  She felt both legs and her quality of life had significantly improved.  When asked how satisfied they were with the results of the stem cell therapy, Makalia’s owners noted that it exceeded their expectations and they would recommend the treatment to others.

Makalia’s case demonstrates that while surgery may be effective in alleviating symptoms associated with dysplasia, adding stem cell therapy can help to further alleviate the symptoms from the arthritis caused by the dysplasia and may help with post-surgical healing and pain.  Stem cells are regenerative cells that can differentiate into many tissue types; they have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation, help to restore range of motion, and stimulate regeneration of tendon, ligament and joint tissues. In a study using VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy (adipose-derived stem cells) in dogs with osteoarthritis of the elbow joint, it was found that regenerative cell therapy decreased lameness and increased range of motion (joint stiffness).

About Dr. Adam Gassel DVM, DACVS

Dr. Gassel studied at UC-Irvine as an undergraduate, where he received a B.S. in biology. He then attended the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, where he earned his DVM in 2001. Following vet school he completed his internship and surgical internship at a specialty hospital in Los Angeles before finishing his surgical residency at the University of Tennessee in 2006.  Many of his colleagues consider Dr. Gassel an expert in portosystemic shunt and TPLO procedures, as well as reconstructive surgeries, surgical oncology, and advanced laparoscopy, thoracoscopy and arthroscopy. He also is highly regarded as a regenerative stem cell therapy specialist, and in this role serves on the Board of Experts for VetStem Biopharma.