Using fat stem cells to treat cat kidney disease

The article:

An excerpt:

While there isn’t any cure for CRF, stem cell therapies offer hope for treating this condition. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can become specialized cells, and scientists use them to grow replacement tissues and organs.

Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine discovered that adult stem cells taken from fat tissue could be used to create new kidney cells. These kidney cells can replace damaged tissues and restore normal function.

This study was published in the journal Cell Regenerative Medicine. Researchers found that stem cells grown from fat tissue could differentiate into functional kidney cells. These findings suggest that stem cells from fat tissue could be used to treat CRF in cats.


In addition to stem cells, there are several ways to deliver stem cells into your cat’s body. One way is to inject the stem cells directly into the affected organ. Another method is to implant stem cells under the skin. A third option is to infuse the stem cells intravenously.

Our vet says she will be doing it intravenously.

The stem cells used in this therapy are called mesenchymal stem cells. There are different types of stem cells for different therapeutic purposes.

What are the potential risks?

Cats’ stem cells come from fat tissue. The same fat tissue is used to produce human liposuction of the fat grafts.

Fat tissue contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), multipotent adult stem cells found in connective tissues throughout the body. MSCs can differentiate into many cell types, including bone, cartilage, muscle, tendon, ligament, adipocytes, and neurons.

The cat’s body is the best place to harvest stem cells, called autologous transplantation. Autologous transplants work well because the donor’s immune system does not recognize the stem cells as foreign, and there is less chance of adverse reactions.

However, there are some risks associated with autologous transplants. For example, your cats could develop cancer due to the stress of having surgery. It might also experience complications during the procedure, such as bleeding, infection, nerve damage, organ failure, and death.

If you do not want to risk these problems, it is possible to take stem cells from another cat. This is called allogeneic transplantation. Allogeneic transplants are less risky than autologous transplants because the donor’s immune system does not attack the stem cells. However, there are still risks involved with allogeneic transplants. These include graft versus host disease, rejection, and infections.

There are also risks associated with harvesting stem cells from outside the body. These include contamination, infection, and genetic defects. Contamination occurs when the harvested stem cells contain bacteria or viruses that cause illness, and disease happens when the stem cells are exposed to germs that make people sick. Genetic defects occur when the stem cells are damaged by radiation or chemotherapy treatments.

The therapy we are going to use involves using harvested stem cells from fat tissue outside the body. There is no cruelty involved, I was told.

I do apologise that in the last few days, I may have written some information inaccurately because this is all so new to me, but I have gone back to those posts and amended the information, so if you are following the posts for the information, kindly go back to those posts and re-read them. My apologies for the errors, which are entirely mine.

Our three CKD cats now. Ginger hasn’t begun any treatment as he is only in Stage 1, but as soon as the kidney readings hit even borderline high, it means 70% of the kidney functions have been impaired. Ginger’s kidney readings have been creeping up through the years, but is still in the normal range now. Creeping up is already a sign.

Tabs’ kidney readings too had been creeping up through the years, but now, we have discovered that she has PKD, so if there is an option to address this, I would want to do it for her. Otherwise, it is just a matter of waiting for time and PKD progresses faster than CKD. Tabs is at Stage 2 CKD now.

Indy was first diagnosed with CKD Stage 2 in 2019 (more than four years ago), but he improved after 8 months of subcut fluids, went back to Stage 1 and nothing else needed to be done. Now, suddenly during a routine check this year, he is already in Stage 3-4 with kidney readings that have shot through the roof suddenly. This was so unexpected as there were no signs except for being choosy over food and some weight loss which I thought was due to aging and being choosy. It was my error in not recognising those signs as symptoms of CKD. But it all happened very quickly too, in barely a year.

I have, in the past, nursed, care for and lost four cats to CKD.

Vincent was my first. He was living on the street and his symptoms were bad dental hygiene and bad teeth. Despite dental scaling and extractions, he still ended up with severe CKD and treatment only started at a very advanced stage. Still, thanks to our vet, Vincent lived on for 6 months and the final stage was about 1.5 months. He was a very resilient and grateful cat.

Pole was my second. She did well with Astro’s package but only for four months after which, she went downhill. Pole hung on for 1.5 months towards the end, with total inappetence and it was heartbreaking even though she was very resilient. I could see she was suffering. On the day before she passed away, she finally let go and slept peacefully without anymore struggle.

Bunny was my third. But he was also FIV+ and had intestinal lymphoma which spread to the brain. So, it wasn’t CKD alone. Bunny was in lateral recumbency in his final week, but he allowed me to force feed him and look after him.

Cleo was my fourth. She was coping well with subcut for four years and her final stage only lasted less than a week. In the final stage, she was discovered to have lymphoma too. She passed away very, very peacefully.

For all four of them, towards the end, it was only about pain management and keeping them comfortable. I totally believe in pain management for palliative care. Why should anyone live in pain when there is an option to manage it?

I know there will be a fifth, a sixth and more since we have so many cats and CKD afflicts 1 in 3 household cats. Rey could be a potential CKD cat too as his current SDMA is already 12. Even in healthy cats, kidney readings will creep up during the geriatric years and they are likely to end up with this dreadful disease. The thing with cats is that they hide pain very well and do not show it until it is really bad. It is the nature of cats. So we will not know how much they are enduring.

I have seen the discomfort, pain and suffering of end-stage CKD and if there is anything I can do to give them better wellbeing and a better quality of life, I will do it.

I know there is no treatment can cure CKD except for a kidney transplant with lifelong anti-rejection drugs. Maybe the Japanese professor’s AIM treatment can help, but that is in the future; it isn’t available yet.

For now, what we have is this stem cell therapy. There is hope that it can give our CKD cats a better quality of life. I will do it for them.

Tabs and Ginger are viable candidates because they have done the ultrasound screening and X-Ray imaging (no cancer). Indy’s appointment is tomorrow. I hope he qualifies too.