This year the North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Association (NAVRMA) meeting was held on September 8-11 at Niagara on the Lake in Ontario, Canada. On this occasion, VCT was an active participant with two oral presentations and a poster presentation. Last year at NAVRMA, VCT was a first time attendee and promised to be more involved at the future events.  After a year of hard work and dedication from many, we had some valuable projects to talk about.

NAVRMA is a great conference for VCT to interface with clinicians, veterinarians, stem cell experts and other regenerativemedicine professionals that share the same passion for reshaping the future of medicine. This conference has a focus on the“One Health Initiative” which is a movement to link human and animal medicine in order to promote translational medicine that will benefit fighting all types of diseases. It is well known that animals of all types have very similar disease models as people (we are animals too) and being able to understand the pathology of disease only benefits all of us.

Specifically, our clinical projects with feline Stomatitis and canine Atopy directly models the diseases that people get.  This typeof work was very timely for VCT since the results are showing to be favorable and the technology using MSC is maturing. We will only be become more prominent in the field as we continue to pursue more clinical trials. Overall, we did make some large strides this year and it was recognized by our cohorts.

The main purpose of the conference is to interact with others and to learn what is new in the field of regenerative medicine. Things were kicked off Sunday night at the Queens Landing Hotel. The opening talks covered “Perspectives on One-Health Regenerative Medicine”.  The presenters Lisa Fortier, Daniel Weiss, and Boaz Arzi all gave great introductory discussions on regenerative medicine. These series of talks were open to the public, which meant that there was not too much overly detailed science.

The daytime talks covered various topics such as canine iPS cells, activated MSCs, sheep OA, Equine PRP, iron nanoparticles, and bioreactors. Even though many of these topics are starting in the academic labs, they are making their way into the clinical trials. Some of the topics as iPS cells and activated MSCs are still new, so they are being tested in vitro.

There were a couple of non-technical talks too. These were focused on How to Get Your Work Published and FDA Regulation of Animal Cells, Tissues, and Cell- and Tissue-Based Products. Both of these are what scientists deal with as they try to move from basic lab to clinical trials. The talk on publishing data was a good discussion on how to prepare manuscripts. Naturally at a conference like this, the FDA (CVM) has to have a presence. It was all good information to take in towards the end of the conference.

Our presentations were: ‘A Novel, Proprietary Intravenous Delivery Solution Sustains Feline Adipose- Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cell Viability and Function for 7 Days at Cold Temperature’ and ‘Intra- articular Administration of Allogeneic AdiposeDerived MSCs Reduces Pain and Lameness in Dogs with Hip Osteoarthritis: A Multicentered, Double Blinded, Randomized,Placebo Controlled Pilot Study.’

Chad presented both talks and were well received. The shipping solution talk had some interest. Most cell therapy researchers have been using PBS, lactated ringers, normal saline, etc for delivering cells. However since PBS is not FDA approved forinjections, this leads to regulatory and clinical concerns. At the end of the talk, some researchers came up to us to chat about itand we did hand out a few sample bottles for some trial runs. We will give some time for them to try it out and see how theircells handle it.

This can be an important contribution to the application of cell therapy and some more testing is needed before it can beoffered. Currently, our research team is testing the solution, named X-TendaCell, on multiple lines in our VCT lab.

Our talk on the HK canine OA study was a significant step for VCT. In short, the patients who received the cell therapy did havepain reductions and their lameness was improved. From a qualitative perspective, the dogs did gain some relief as comparedto the control group. On the quantitative side, we measured cytokines, cell markers, and gait dynamics. There were someinteresting results associated with these corresponding items and this is what the audience was seeking.

It was a great feeling to have a warm reception on this project, which took about two years to complete. Most importantly wasthe integrity of the trial, since it was placebo controlled and double blinded. Also, we looked at dosing with a strong attempt tohave objective measurements. In the following talks, our presentations were referenced multiple times. One of thecompliments was acknowledging that we conducted the clinical trial “the right way,”

In addition, Tom presented a poster titled, “Manufacturing of Allogeneic Feline Adipose Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Clinical Applications.” The poster summarized VCT USA’s development of a comprehensive procedure for the production of allogeneic feline MSCs in a consistent and controlled setting. This optimized procedure resulted in a high-quality cell therapyproduct suited for clinical research or testing in a variety of disease models. This is the first VCT research poster, generated from our own data, and it is up on our wall across from the conference room.

The poster received some good attention from the conference attendees. Of particular interest was from the CVM, who had achance to see how we make the MSCs. Of course this was the developmental story of the process of where we are today.  Itwas appreciated by many to share this info and to also “be in the same boat”. The other researchers who study feline MSCs gothrough many of the same challenges that we have gone through. From the cell culture growth patterns to MHC class I, thosewere consistent challenges across many labs.

Overall, it was the ideal conference to attend. Next year it is going to be held at Colorado State University. By then, many of our projects will be ready for more presentations.  Definitely looking forward to more clinical projects and to continue building what we have.