Horses have been a love of the Randall family for more than 20 years. When one of their top quarter horses suffered a career-ending injury, Dick Randall’s veterinarian treated the horse with stem cells derived from its own fat tissue. The animal enjoyed a complete recovery and went on to continue competing.
Randall’s initial interest was identifying the difference in effectiveness of stem cells collected from embryos, fat, and bone marrow. This curiosity led him to Gregory Ferraro ’69, D.V.M ’71, and Larry Galuppo ’88, D.V.M ’90, at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine who discussed with him the efficacy of adult stem cell therapy for animals and humans.
“Stem cells, with their ability to restore, repair or revitalize damaged organs or tissues, are rapidly changing all of medicine,” said Ferraro, who directs the veterinary school’s large animal clinic.
Impressed by the work, Dick and Carolyn Randall decided to provide core funding to establish the UC Davis Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Program. This program initiated a collaborative research study to analyze the therapeutic potential of adult stem cells collected from a horse’s own bone marrow or fat tissue. Researchers from the program have partnered with the UC Davis Health System’s Institute for Regenerative Cures as well as the departments of biomedical engineering, and physiology, neurology and behavioral science.
“The first horse of mine to undergo stem cell therapy, Hustler, went on to continue showing and winning, and he is still active today. That means success to us,” said Dick Randall. “This technology has already helped thousands of equine and canine patients. We strongly believe that the work being done at UC Davis will help a lot of people too.”