Gene therapy treatment showing promise for dogs with chronic pain

A new approach to veterinary pain management using gene therapy is yielding promising study results in Colorado, according to the Boulder Daily Camera.

The study involves treating dogs that have chronic pain with a natural anti-inflammatory and protein called Interleukin-10. Interleukin-10 can help to mitigate dogs’ pain by calming glial cells, which sometimes induce the nervous system to start firing pain signals, as well as produce chemical compounds that contribute to chronic pain, the paper said.

According to the Daily Camera, researchers report that the therapy has been effective at providing extended pain relief lasting for up to 90 days per injection.

The gene therapy offers several benefits beyond its effects on the glial cells, according to Linda Watkins, University of Colorado psychology professor and founder of Xalud Therapeutics Inc., the biotech company that is testing the treatment in conjunction with Colorado veterinarian Dr. Robert Landry.

Watkins told the Daily Camera that the therapy also shows promise for stimulating tissue regeneration and growth, decreasing production of pro-inflammatory substances, and increasing production of anti-inflammatory substances.

Positive results for two study participants

Landry has already performed the gene therapy procedure twice at his animal hospital - AAHA-accredited Mountain Ridge Animal Hospital and Pain Management Center in Lafayette, Colo.

The American Academy of Pain Management diplomate told the media he treated two dogs that both were in severe pain preventing them from even walking up a ramp. Both dogs have responded well to the therapy, he said.

“They’re more playful, they can get down, they can go up a ramp. There is no placebo effect in dogs. The treatment is either going to be functionally effective, or not,” he told the Daily Camera.

Ultimately, Watkins and Landry hope to apply their current research to chronic pain in humans, they told the paper. In the meantime, they are looking for dogs with chronic pain to participate in the study. They are encouraging owners to call Mountain Ridge Animal Hospital at 303-665-4852 to learn more.

Read the full story on the Boulder Daily Camera website

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