autologous vs. allogeneic


Your Animal's cells, or a donor's?

It makes a difference.

Stem cell procedures can use either (a) stem cells collected directly from the patient (“autologous”) or (b) stem cells developed from a non-patient donor of the same species (“allogeneic”). There are considerations to be aware of with either approach.

Most veterinary stem cell therapies today are autologous. These were the first approaches brought to market and have established a track record of efficacy and safety. The trend, however, is toward allogeneic treatments for some of the reasons discussed below. Note that studies are ongoing in this area and that no one study is conclusive. Furthermore, outcomes may vary due to differences in animal species, animal health, source of stem cell collection, laboratory techniques, and other factors.

Before deciding which path is best for your pet, consider the pros and cons of both approaches.

1. Cost

While many factors might impact the cost of a stem-cell-based regenerative procedure, generally the use of autologous stem cells will cost more and take longer than using donor cells.

This is due to the need for the collection of tissue from your pet (which usually requires surgery) and the time needed in the lab to isolate the stem cells and expand the cell count after collection.

In contrast, the use of allogeneic cells avoids surgery, which creates efficiencies in (a) lowering the incidence of collection in the first instance and (b) by producing larger quantities of expanded cells that can then be used in multiple therapies across multiple patients.

These factors tend to make allogeneic approaches cheaper and quicker.

2. Potency

Stem cells from older animals will of course themselves be older than those from younger animals. This raises a question: will autologous cells from an older patient be as potent, productive, and successful as those from a younger donor? After all, the reason for stem cell therapy in the first place is to treat an older animal whose tissues have been impacted by aging.

Some studies suggest (see table below) that adipose-derived stem cells from younger animals proliferate more readily, meaning that they grow faster in the laboratory. There are also indications that older cells show a progressive loss of "stemness characteristics" as they move through the process of differentiation, which characteristics include the capacity to self-renew and differentiate further.

3. Immune response

Stem cell therapies, whether allogeneic or autologous, involve the reintroduction of cells that have had some level of processing back into the body of the patient. How the patient’s body reacts to the new cells can vary depending on whether they are autologous or allogeneic.

To a certain extent, this makes logical sense. Autologous therapy returns cells developed from the patient’s own body back into its system. With allogeneic cells, sometimes the body’s defense mechanism (its immune system) reacts to chemical markers on the cells, interpreting them as invaders.

Therapies using an allogeneic approach, therefore, will have an increased risk of cell rejection by the patient’s body. Thus, allogeneic treatments will sometimes include other factors that help the patient’s body accept and integrate the injected stem cells.

Academic Studies Discussing Age-Related Potency of Stem Cells


Regenerative medicine is ever-changing as researchers and doctors learn more about the exciting possibilities of stem-cell-based therapies. JangoPet is committed to leveraging the current state of knowledge to provide customers and veterinarians cutting-edge therapeutic options to help animals affected by the degenerative effects of aging. Click below to explore our current services or to contact us directly.