To understand why we at VetCell Therapeutics are so passionate about the future of using stem cell therapies for treating diseases in ailing pets, VetCell Therapeutics’ Chief Medical Officer Chad Maki discusses how stem cells interact with the body, his experience with treating patients with stem cells and his outlook on the future of treating various diseases with stem cells.
Dr. Maki explains, “I believe that our companion animals should have similar high quality medical care that their owners receive in human medicine and that we should embrace innovative and emerging cell therapy technologies. It is quite remarkable how the body is made up of many different cell types which all serve a particular and specific function. The body has the ability to provide us with energy, perform thoughts and mechanical movements, feel and react to our environment, grow and develop, fight off infections, and to heal and maintain homeostasis. All of these cell types and mechanisms begin with a single cell which replicates and morphs into the three germ layers which make up the many specialized cells and tissues in our bodies. As adults each organ houses its own stem cell populations that are known as precursor cells. Some are more prolific than others, but each tissue has the ability to heal and regenerate to a certain capacity. These cells know when and how to act through complex signaling with cytokines in their local environment.”
“The benefit of utilizing certain cells types for specific diseases is that they have a chance to control the disease and to rebuild functional tissue. With canine osteoarthritis (OA) for example, it is postulated that mesenchymal stem cells perform many functions to control the disease, two of which are of utmost importance; anti-inflammation and cartilage regeneration. These two features alone are enough to make stem cell therapy for OA very enticing. They have the potential to reduce inflammation which in turn will reduce pain, and also to rebuild damaged cartilage to produce a more functional joint. Together, these features provide the chance to stop or reverse the progression of osteoarthritis. I understand the promise of stem cell therapy and have seen the benefit it can have on my patients, but I want to stress on the importance of evidence based medicine and the need for rigorous clinical trials to prove that they are safe and effective. At VetCell Therapeutics we are committed and dedicated to this endeavor for scientific and therapeutic rigor.”
“Through my experience in the stem cell field and in the clinical practice setting, I see the great potential that stem cell therapy can have for various ailments. My aim is to provide state of the art stem cell therapies for our pet patients suffering from various degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis and chronic kidney disease. My ambition is to have a life-changing impact on these patients that have a great need to eliminate their pain and suffering and improve their quality of life through regenerative therapy technologies. I envision regenerative therapies as the mainstay of animal and human medicine and I am excited to be at the forefront in this field.”
In his spare time Dr. Maki can be found with his wife, two little boys and their rescue dog Ava. He greatly values time spent outdoors and in nature and enjoys snowboarding, backpacking, hiking, running, swimming, basketball and many other activities especially when he is with his family. He grew up always loving animals and has had many pets including snakes, guinea pigs, rabbits, ducks, turtles, fish, dogs and cats. He has always been drawn to science, anything from biochemistry to cosmology. He feels lucky to have the ability not only to work with animals daily, but also to help them when they are suffering. The ability to apply his scientific knowledge to create innovative stem cell therapies for our pets is a privilege and an honor.
Dr. Maki earned his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and his internationally accredited DVM at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Since 2005 he has worked extensively in the field of stem cell research and has produced numerous peer reviewed scientific publications. While pursuing his veterinary degree he continued his scientific interests at Roslin Institute by investigating the role of canine cancer stem cells and the biomechanics of bone growth. After graduating with his DVM he moved back to his home town in Orange County, California and has been practicing veterinary medicine for our furry family companions ever since. He is the Chief Medical Officer at VetCell Therapeutics, an associate veterinarian at Irvine Pet Complex in Irvine, CA, as well as a member of the SCVMA, CVMA, AVMA, VOS, AAFP and iCatCare.