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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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Spotlight On: Dr. Lynne Oliver, Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation

by Dr. Melanie McLean, Senior Writer/Editor, Communications

Dr. Lynne Oliver, Division of Therapeutic Drugs for Non-Food Animals, attended the first annual North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Conference.  The conference was held March 5 and 6, 2010, in Buellton, CA, and focused on regenerative medicine in horses.    

In the relatively new field of regenerative medicine, tissues or organs that are not functioning properly are repaired by living, functional tissues.  Organs and tissues in the body once thought to be damaged beyond repair are hopefully stimulated by the living, transplanted tissue to regenerate and heal.

The Horse as a Model

The horse can be used as a model for musculoskeletal injury in people.  Researchers use horses to study musculoskeletal disorders, such as bone fractures, osteoarthritis, and tendonitis. 

Tendinitis as an Example

In some horses with tendinitis, the damaged tendon has scar tissue that is not as strong or elastic as the original tendon before it was damaged.  In regenerative medicine, living tissue cells are transplanted into the injured tendon, causing the tendon tissue to regenerate.  If the living tissue cells are collected from and transplanted into the same horse, it’s called an “autologous” transplant.  If the living tissue cells are collected from one horse and transplanted into another horse, it’s called an “allogeneic” transplant. 

Roundtable Session  

The conference in California included a roundtable session attended by members of the pharmaceutical industry, regulators, veterinary and medical researchers, and practicing veterinarians and medical doctors.

Dr. Oliver participated in the roundtable session to explain CVM’s current regulatory and approval processes for new animal drugs. 

Dr. Oliver said that the conference provided an “excellent opportunity for doctors, veterinarians, and researchers to network and talk about what’s needed and what’s out there” in the field of veterinary regenerative medicine.  She added that it was a “great chance for the different groups to collaborate and share research.” 

The Future

One goal of the conference participants is to form a Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Society.  The participants also want to ensure that the products being developed are high quality and that there is adequate oversight of these products.  Current research is focused on developing both allogeneic and autologous products.    

Regenerative medicine is a growing area of development for new animal drugs.  CVM expects to be contacted about more of these new products in the future.