Many studies have identified favorable properties of amniotic products and fetal-derived materials to treat a variety of medical issues. In the horse world, amnion is often discarded. However, AniCell Biotech has developed foaling farms where these fetal tissues are gathered non-invasively and then recycled to produce beneficial products for animal health. The donor mares arrive at the foaling facility one month prior to parturition and are tested extensively for infectious diseases.
Benefits of Amniotic Products
Tammi Epp, Senior Technical and Research Scientist at AniCell Biotech, described the many benefits of amniotic products:
- They are protective against pathogens.
- They provide building blocks for growth.
- They are xenogeneic and can be used safely across species due to lack of MHC (major histocompatibility complex) expression that would cause tissue rejection or reaction.
- Since this material is fetal-derived, it eliminates age-related concerns of other treatment options.
- These products address the etiology and pathology of a problem and are not just a band-aid, according to Epp.
Role of Amniotic Products in the Healing Process
Amniotic preparations are especially helpful during rehabilitation of musculoskeletal tissues due to inherent building block constituents. Amniotic products improve the rebuilding of active and functional tissue. They also decrease healing time compared to stem cell treatment while simultaneously improving tissue quality. In addition, Epp noted that reinjury rate is five times less than what is achieved with adult stem cells.
The amniotic material serves as a biological scaffold by providing 18 times the number of growth factors, chemokines and cytokines as PRP (plasma-rich protein). Included in the amnion are epithelial stem cells and amniotic MSCs. The primary mechanism of action stems from paracrine signaling of an injured area that calls secretomes to the injury site. These products have antimicrobial, anti-apoptic, anti-fibrotic, angiogenic and regenerative properties. They also support endogenous healing. It is contraindicated to administer these products in the presence of NSAIDs or corticosteroids.
There is minimal processing of amnion material once collected. They are safe for subcutaneous or intravenous use or can be wrapped within a lesion and sewn closed. Epp comments that cryopreserved material lasts two years at minus 800 C or in liquid nitrogen. Lyophilized or membrane material lasts two years at ambient temperature in a cool and dry location, making them readily available for immediate field use. Most injuries require only a single treatment. However, some articular injuries might need repeat treatment at a year since amnion activity lasts 9-12 months.