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Comparative Orthopedics and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory

Watts stem cell collection
Dr. Watts places a bone marrow needle in the sternum of an equine patient for stem cell collection
The Comparative Orthopedics and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory at Texas A&M University was founded in 2012, with the specific mission to foster and expand multidisciplinary research and equine clinical care for orthopedic disorders and regenerative therapies.  The laboratory provides for the isolation and expansion of autologous (self) stem cells from bone marrow for Texas A&M equine patients.  

Ashlee Watts DVM, PhD, DACVS, is director of the lab and an equine orthopedic surgeon in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences.  Dr. Watts works with board certified faculty members on the Equine Orthopedics, Equine Lameness and Diagnostic Imaging services at Texas A&M and collaborates with basic scientists and veterinarians throughout campus and at other academic institutions.  The laboratory is located in the new wing of the Veterinary Medical Research Building, immediately adjacent to the Large Animal Hospital at Texas A&M.  

Stem cell graft preparation
Kathy Rector, CORML technician, prepares autologous fibrinogen for a stem cell graft to an OCD lesion in the stifle of a young horse.
The Comparative Orthopedics and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory serves the equine industry and veterinary community by: evaluating and treating orthopedic disease with stem cells and regenerative therapies in equine athletes; providing guidelines and strategies for management of equine clinical cases through incorporation of innovative regenerative and stem cell technologies; engaging in orthopedic and regenerative research with immediate impact to both equine and human athletes; and educating veterinary students, veterinary residents, graduate students, and visiting scientists in equine regenerative techniques for orthopedic disease.  

Bone marrow isolation
Rachel Brooks, a pre-veterinary Honors student, investigates methods to optimize bone marrow isolation of stem cells.
Areas of research emphasis include techniques for improved stem cell isolation and expansion for autologous therapy, techniques for the optimization of stem cells for tendon, cartilage, bone and anti-osteoarthritis therapy, and investigation into the basic mechanisms of successful stem cell therapy. The overriding goal of the laboratory is to provide for the dedicated study of orthopedic diseases and the development of innovative targeted therapeutic measures to treat orthopedic diseases.