The Systems Biology of Stem Cell Released Molecules: A Novel Approach to Optimizing Animal Health
Veterinary drug and therapeutic development has traditionally been based on the theory of “reductionism”, when (1) a clinical state is broken down to a defined biochemical pathway underlying the condition; (2) a target in the pathway is identified; (3) a drug interacting with the target is developed; and (4) the target is modified to ameliorate the disease. But biological systems are extremely complex, and the reductionist approach to developing therapeutic solutions is limited: Diseased or traumatized tissue frequently involve multiple underlying pathways. True mitigation of a disease process that fully allows the patient healing requires an approach that is multifaceted and systems-based.
A resolution to this reductionist conundrum may be found in the use of stem cell based therapeutics. Significant data explains how stem cells repair and regenerate tissue and modulate the immune system: As much as 80% of the beneficial effects of stem cells result from their ability to release a multitude of molecules. These stem cell released molecules (SRM) modulate the cellular milieu to evoke a multitude of responses from neighboring cells. Stem cells represent a natural, systems-based biological ‘factory’, producing and releasing a host of molecules capable of interacting with the system of biomolecular circuits underlying a variety of indications.
Current research includes efforts to define, stimulate, enhance and harness SRM, facilitating the development of new topical products and systems-therapeutics. Heretofore, advances in the development of SRM-based products have focused exclusively on human health applications. This paper discusses the translational potential and significant promise of repurposed existing human drugs and therapeutics and their application into companion animal treatments.