Study Evaluates Injectable Treatment for Tendon Injuries

Researchers are evaluating the safety of a new injectable treatment modality for SDFT injuries.
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Research shows a new treatment modality for tendon injuries could improve healing time in horses and help prevent reinjury. Tom Hedman, PhD, a research associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s Center for Biomedical Engineering Coldstream Research Campus’ Soft-Tissue Matrix Modification Research Laboratory, introduced to the audience an injectable, nonbiologic treatment approach called NEXT developed to improve the function of mechanically deficient tissues in horses.

During the May 8 Veterinary Science Seminar "ECM2: Introduction to an Injectable Treatment for Mechanically Dysfunctional Tissues with Initial Results from Equine SDFT Testing," Hedman explained that he originally developed the injectable treatment method for use in humans with degenerative disc disease. But upon moving to Lexington, commonly known as "The Horse Capital of the World," Hedman saw potential for the reagent’s use in horses.

What Is It?

NEXT (nonsurgical exogenous crosslink therapy, sometimes called ECM2 or exogenous crosslink modification of the extracellular matrix) involves chemical modification–using the plant-derived reagent genipin, which Hedman noted the FDA classifies as nontoxic–of connective tissue to improve mechanical and nutritional properties. Although it sounds complicated, the theory behind NEXT is relatively simple, he said

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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