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VetCell Therapeutics and Western University Seek Allogeneic Stem Cell Treatment for Canine Atopic Dermatitis

The two parties will collaboratively study the efficacy and safety of treating canine atopic dermatitis with allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells

SANTA ANA, Calif., November 8, 2017 VetCell Therapeutics, a pet-focused cell therapy division of PrimeGen Biotech, announced today that it has entered into a collaborative clinical study with Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, one of only two esteemed veterinary programs in California, to study the efficacy and safety of treating canine atopic dermatitis (AD) with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).

The goal of this collaborative research project is to determine if allogeneic MSCs can serve as a safe, effective and more extended treatment alternative to corticosteroids and other medical strategies for treating canine AD. The project will be led by the principal investigators Dr. Jijun Hao, PhD, Assistant Professor, and Dr. Gagandeep Kaur, DVM, PhD, a Veterinarian and Assistant Professor, both at Western University of Health Sciences. VetCell Therapeutics will supply GMP allogeneic MSCs for the study.

“In my daily practice, I often see dogs suffering from atopic dermatitis, which is a difficult condition to treat and requires daily management for the life of the pet. If our stem cell therapy can offer extended, or even permanent, relief from the symptoms associated with AD, this will be a remarkable breakthrough,” said Dr. Chad Maki DVM, Chief Medical Officer at VetCell Therapeutics. “Based on the immunological testing and field research we’ve conducted at VetCell Therapeutics, our canine MSCs show great potential for treating a wide variety of immune-mediated diseases, such as AD. We look forward to working with Western University on this exciting project.”

Canine atopic dermatitis, which affects approximately 10-percent of the canine population, is a complex and multifactorial disease triggered by immune system dysregulation, skin barrier defects and environmental factors. AD cannot be cured and therefore must be managed long-term. Standard of care consists of allergen specific immunotherapy (ASIT) in combination with other therapies to help control the symptoms associated with AD. Other therapies may include avoidance of specific allergens, bathing strategies, antihistamines, essential fatty acids (EFAs), IL-31 monoclonal antibody (mAb) (Cytopoint), oclacitinib (Apoquel), corticosteroids, cyclosporine (Atopica) and antibiotics. For many dogs, daily medications are needed, but they possess several risks, including negative long-term drug side effects and an increased risk of developing microbial antibiotic resistance with chronic and recurring skin and ear infections.

Recently, cell therapies using MSCs have emerged as a novel approach to treating various chronic and degenerative diseases due to the cells’ ability to modulate the immune system and control inflammation. VetCell Therapeutics believes this can aid in relieving symptoms associated with AD. In addition, MSCs boast properties of low immunogenicity making them a promising, low-risk cell-based therapy.

VetCell Therapeutics produces its MSCs in a certified ISO 7 cleanroom following GMP guidelines. The cells are derived from tissues extracted from qualified donors, which are carefully selected to ensure the tissue is free from pathogens. The approach is to utilize low passaged (i.e. young) cells, which have been consistently processed following strict SOPs. The final product is fully characterized, screened for infectious agents, and tested for sterility and stability.

“We are very excited about this collaborative clinical study with VetCell Therapeutics and the outcome of this study may have a significant impact on the current treatments for canine AD,” said Dr. Jijun Hao, the project leader at Western University of Health Sciences.

The format of the study was designed to allow Western University and VetCell Therapeutics to continually monitor the efficacy and safety of the administered cell therapies. A key focal point will be on the administration of a low-dosing strategy and to closely monitor the patients for any adverse effects. In addition to providing efficacy and safety data, this study will supply VetCell Therapeutics with valuable information about the MSC dosage required to effectively treat canine AD. Accomplishing this work could potentially lead to a breakthrough treatment of canine AD that would impact hundreds and thousands of dogs who suffer from lifelong itching and inflammation.

To learn more about VetCell Therapeutics please visit To learn more about Western University and its research, please visit

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About VetCell Therapeutics:

VetCell Therapeutics’ mission is to develop the highest-quality cell-based therapies for ailing pet companions to improve their quality of life.  VetCell Therapeutics recognizes that cell-based therapies are becoming more commonplace and effective for improving the wellbeing of pets and humans alike. VetCell Therapeutics is focused on developing and commercializing novel and innovative stem cell therapies for unmet medical needs for companion pets globally. The scientific efforts conducted by both VetCell Therapeutics and its parent company PrimeGen Biotech is translational across many animal species, which will help to provide a solid foundation for future human stem cell therapies.

About Western University:

The College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences was established in 1998 as the first new college of veterinary medicine in the United States in more than twenty years, and stands as a new paradigm in veterinary medical education: student centered learning, strategic partnerships, and reverence for life. On March 3, 2010, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education (COE) granted the College Full Accreditation.


VetCell Therapeutics Media Contact:
Michael Farino
New Era Communications