Research carried out by Dr Luke Dutton under the supervision of Professor David Connolly, Dr Jayesh Dudhia and Dr Debbie Guest, has identified the conditions required to generate pluripotent stem cells from domestic cats, which has the potential to be quite significant in terms of feline health. This study into feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy involved the Royal Veterinary College, in association with the Animal Health Trust, The Beryl Evetts and Robert Luff Animal Welfare Trust, The Winn Feline Foundation and Boehringer Ingelheim, and has uniquely identified the conditions required to create induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from domestic cat cells, as opposed to wild cats which has been done before. Now further research needs to be undertaken to work out how to turn these iPSCs into heart cells and eventually drug therapies that could improve outcomes for cats with HCM.
“Potential cure for feline heart disease on the horizon“
Dr Dutton said: “This is an incredibly exciting project, which is only made possible by the generous funding of the BERLAWT, Boehringer Ingelheim and The Winn Feline Foundation. Not only is this study the first reported generation of iPSCs from domestic cats, but these cells can now be used in a novel disease model. This will allow us to study the disease processes present in these cats in ways that have not been possible with the ultimate goal of identifying new therapeutic agents that may slow or even stop the disease process. We would then hope to translate these agents into the feline clinic.”