Asthma is a common breathing disorder in cats, decreasing quality of life and sometimes causing death. Asthma is currently managed using corticosteroids, a treatment involving unpleasant side effects. Corticosteroids cannot be used in cats with concurrent diseases such as diabetes.
Importantly, they only suppress inflammation and do nothing to reverse the underlying abnormal immune response which triggers the asthmatic syndrome. Thus, there is a need for safe and effective treatments for feline asthma. Stem cell therapy using mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) from bone marrow or adipose tissues is showing tremendous promise for a variety of diseases. Because the majority of stem cells injected into the bloodstream actually end up in the lungs, the use of stem cells for treating disorders of the lung shows promise. At least 4 studies in rodent models of asthma published in the past year have shown that i.v. injection of mesenchymal stems cells (MSC) can significantly reduce airway inflammation and airway hyperreactivity. In addition, the collaborators on this project at CSU have considerable prior experience with intravenous injection of MSC for treatment of feline chronic kidney disease. This study proposes to evaluate MSC therapy as a novel treatment for feline asthma.