UC Davis Offers Umbilical Cord Banking Service

Horse owners can now collect umbilical cord tissue immediately after a foal is born.

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The University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine reported in early March that horse owners can now collect umbilical cord tissue immediately after a foal is born and save it as a future source of therapeutic stem cells through the school’s Regenerative Medicine Laboratory.

The laboratory provides kits that allow the horse’s owner or veterinarian to collect the umbilical cord tissue and send it to the UC Davis laboratory, where it will be minimally processed. One dose of stem cells will be sent back to the horse owner’s veterinarian and another sample will be frozen and stored for as long as four years, according to the school.

If the horse should later need stem cell therapy to treat an injury or the effects of disease, the tissue sample can be retrieved from the frozen archive and treated to encourage growth of the stem cells.

The method is modeled after procedures currently used in human medicine to collect and bank babies’ cord blood for potential use in cell-based therapies, the school noted.

“The advantage is that, unlike collecting stem cells derived from bone marrow or fat, umbilical cord banking doesn’t require the horse to undergo a traumatic or invasive procedure,” said Sean Owens, DVM, medical director of the Regenerative Medicine Laboratory.

The cost for the collection kit and four years of storage is $1,625.

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