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First stem cell-based veterinary medicine approved
“A quarter of the entire equine population develops osteoarthritis at some point in their life."
Arti-Cell Forte for equine lameness available from May 2019 

The first stem cell-based veterinary medicine, used for treating equine lameness, will be available from May and June 2019.

Boehringer Ingelheim has launched Arti-Cell Forte in Europe for the ‘reduction of mild to moderate recurrent lameness associated with non-septic joint inflammation in horses’.

Described as a ‘groundbreaking first-ever approved treatment’, the drug targets lameness by utilising specifically primed, chondrogenic induced stem cells. It comes in an ultra-low frozen and ready-to-use format.

Boehringer said current treatments for lameness are not satisfactory for all cases and ‘there is a clear need for innovation and new treatment options’, looking at the underlying cause rather than just treating symptoms.

The company formed a partnership with Global Stem Cell Technology (GST) last year to develop new treatments and solutions to improve animal health.

Jan Spaas, CEO of GST, said: “A quarter of the entire equine population develops osteoarthritis at some point in their life. Priming the cells towards cartilage aids them to deliver the right activities in the affected joint.

“We are absolutely delighted with our first marketing authorisation from the European Commission and the first stem cell-based product in animal health. We are sure that with our partner Boehringer Ingelheim this product will become a game changer in equine health.”

Dr Erich Schoett, of Boehringer, added: “We are proud to continue to set new standards of care for horses to optimise their health and well-being in partnership with veterinarians. Early disease detection and early treatment are key to ensure that horses are healthy and live longer, happier lives.”

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Wales to ban third party puppy and kitten sales

News Story 1
 The Welsh Government has said it will ban third party sales of puppies and kittens, after a consultation showed overwhelming public support.

A consultation in February received nearly 500 responses, most of whom called for greater action to improve the welfare of cats and dogs at all breeding premises.

Concerns were also raised about online sales, impulse buying, breeder accountability and illegal puppy imports.

A consultation will now be held on plans to implement a ban. Environment minister Lesley Griffiths said she will also revisit the current breeding regulations to improve welfare conditions.  

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WHO declares Congo Ebola outbreak an international health emergency

The World Health Organisation has declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The move comes after a meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for Ebola in the DRC. The committee cited recent developments in the outbreak in making its recommendation, including the first confirmed case in Goma - a city of almost two million people on the border with Rwanda, and the gateway to the rest of DRC and the world.

The committee also reinforced the need to protect the livelihoods of the people most affected by the outbreak by keeping transport routes and borders open.