CSU researchers seek area cats with the disease to participate in
the clinical trial; cats with concurrent diseases are not eligible. For information about the trial and to determine eligibility for enrollment, visit
Studies suggest that about 50 percent of cats older than 10 suffer
from chronic kidney disease.
Although the disease is very common, risk factors are poorly understood and it is tough to treat. Chronic kidney disease is considered irreversible, and treatment typically centers on slowing progression of the disease through supportive care, such as dietary changes, injected fluids, and blood-pressure medication.
Yet in a pilot study last year, CSU veterinarians determined that stem-cell therapy could provide a new treatment option for cats.
After preliminary results, the research team is further investigating the ability of stem cells to repair damaged kidneys.
Veterinarians are intrigued by use of stem-cell therapy for chronic kidney failure in cats because earlier studies demonstrated that
the approach could decrease inflammation, promote regeneration of damaged cells, slow loss of protein through urine, and improve kidney function, says Dr. Jessica Quimby, a veterinarian leading the CSU research.
“In our pilot study last year, in which stem cells were injected intravenously, we found stemcell therapy to be safe, and we saw evidence of improvement among some of the cats enrolled in the trial,” Quimby said. “In this study, we will further explore stem-cell therapy with the new approach of injecting the cells close to the
damaged organs. We hope this proximity could yield even better results.”
For the CSU study, the stem cells used have been cultivated from the fat of young, healthy cats; donor animals are not harmed.
The study will track cats with chronic kidney disease for about two months, with a variety of diagnostic tests conducted before and after stem-cell treatment to analyze kidney function.
A special CSU fund, called Frankie’s Fund for Feline Stem Cell Research, will pay the costs of preparing the stem cells, as well as all costs of visits, lab work and injections for cats enrolled
in the study.
The fund is named for a Seal Point Siamese cat with chronic kidney disease whose owners sought treatment from the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Frankie’s treatment pointed the way to innovative stem-cell therapies for cats with chronic kidney disease. People who want to support the quest for new treatment may donate to the fund by visiting
Does your cat have chronic kidney disease?
Symptoms may be subtle; see your veterinarian if you have concerns about your cat’s health.
Signs may include, but are not limited to:
• Weight loss
• Poor appetite
• Increased thirst
• Increased urination
• Poor coat
• Bad breath
By Sarah Zumhofe