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Deborah Nicholau suffers from an oral inflammatory disease but is excited to hear about the possibilities that veterinary medicine has brought to human medicine.
Deborah Nicholau suffers from an oral inflammatory disease but is excited to hear about the possibilities that veterinary medicine has brought to human medicine.

Stem Cell Therapy for Cats Could Lead to Solutions for Chronic Oral Inflammatory Disease in Humans

By Trina Wood on July 12, 2016

Smokey the cat was reaching the end of her nine lives when she came to UC Davis veterinary hospital. She had been diagnosed with chronic gingivostomatitus or FCGS, a painful inflammatory mouth disease. Even with all of her teeth removed, the disease persisted, leaving her mouth inflamed and the once playful and curious kitty in pain.

As a last ditch effort, Smokey’s owners enrolled her in a veterinary clinical trial at UC Davis where researchers used stem cells derived from their feline patients with the goal of reducing inflammation and promoting new tissue growth. Fortunately, Smokey’s last recheck showed a dramatic improvement and her appetite is back — maybe a little too much!

Researchers say these clinical trials also have potential implications for human health in treating a similar oral inflammatory disease — oral lichen planus — that creates ulcers in the mouth, making it difficult to talk and eat. Plans for human clinical trials may begin as early as next year at UC Davis.

Learn more about how comparing diseases and treatments across species makes health advances possible.

Communications and marketing officer Trina Wood is the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine’s communications “Jill of All Trades.”