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News Article

Gene therapy for the treatment of tendinitis and desmitis in horses

Novel treatment trialled on ten horses with naturally occurring tendon and ligament injuries

A study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology describes the treatment of naturally occurring injuries of the superficial digital flexor tendon in seven horses and suspensory ligament branch desmitis in three horses.

By injecting plasmid DNA into the torn ligaments and tendons, researchers were able to see that blood vessels developed within the tissue and the tissue grew back without leaving scar tissue behind.

This work has been carried out as part of a collaborative research project between academics in the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science and Kazan Federal University and Moscow State Academy.

This study compliments their work published last year and provides more evidence that these techniques could be used to help horses which have gone lame due to tendon or ligament injury.

The team had previously reported on two horses who had received the treatment, but this larger study helps to show the results in superficial digital flexor tendons and the suspensory ligament branches.

Dr Catrin Rutland, Associate Professor of Anatomy and Developmental Genetics at The University of Nottingham, said: “This innovative work is truly exciting, not just for veterinary medicine but also in human medicine. Seeing the quick recovery period, the pain relief to the injured animals and watching the blood vessels develop to help the tissue repair was amazing. It gave us real insights into how and why these techniques work.”

Veterinary Surgeon Dr Milomir Kovac, said “The horses used in our study had gone lame naturally but with the treatment most of them were back to their previous levels of movement and fitness within a very short time period and were no longer in pain. In addition we did not see the high levels of lameness reoccurring in our patients. The most promising treatments emerging have a 20 per cent relapse rate but also take 5-6 months to work. Our gene therapy worked within just a few weeks. Therefore it has a high rate of healing, a low chance of relapse and works quickly – a significant medical discovery.”

The research was funded through a Program of Competitive Growth at Kazan Federal University but the next step for the team is to find funding which will enable them to further develop the treatment in order to further the research and ultimately get it out into clinics and veterinary surgeries.

Read article: Gene Therapy Using Plasmid DNA Encoding VEGF164 and FGF2 Genes: A Novel Treatment of Naturally Occurring Tendinitis and Desmitis in Horses by Milomir Kovac, Yaroslav A. Litvin, Ruslan O. Aliev, Elena Y. Zakirova, Catrin S. Rutland, Andrey P. Kiyasov and Albert A. Rizvanov, published in Frontiers in Pharmacology (2018) 9:978, doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00978

Article details

  • Date
  • 05 September 2018
  • Source
  • University of Nottingham
  • Subject(s)
  • Horses and other Equines