Biotech company Global Stem Technology (GST) from Ghent has developed a stem cell therapy to cure horses of osteoarthritis and joint wear.
Europe approved the use of the therapy, which means it can be sold starting from next month.
The therapy is based on stem cells that are extracted from the blood of healthy horses and processed in the lab, before being injected into sick animals. The cells are manipulated in such a way that the animals start producing cartilage again and injuries will heal.
Around one in four horses deals with osteoarthritis in its lifetime. Traditional drugs that are administered for this only fight the symptoms, but the animals still stay sick. The stem cell therapy that GST has developed really cures the animals.
However, since GST did not have a license to market the therapy, no one could use it until now. Last month, the European Commission granted GST a permit, which makes the Ghent-based company the first in Europe to market stem cell therapy for animals. The company is working together with the German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, which will start selling the therapy next month.