UC Davis Award Honors Helpful Clients

The University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine has honored a couple interested in equine health with the 2011 El Blanco Award, which recognizes the significant contributions that animal owners and other benefactors have made to clinical veterinary medicine through presentation of their afflicted animals for clinical studies, by offering hypotheses and evaluations of therapy, and by providing support for clinicians at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital to pursue novel diagnostic or therapeutic methods.

Dick and Carolyn Randall received the award for their ongoing support of the school's research mission and for their role in promoting important advances in equine health and well-being.

The Center for Equine Health and faculty of the Regenerative Medicine Group nominated the Randalls for their vision and commitment to the establishment of a long-term stem cell research program that stands to benefit companion and performance animals.

The Randalls, owners of many horses that perform in racing and reining events, have been clients of the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for more than a decade. The Randalls have donated significant financial support for the stem cell program and a specialized laboratory, which has led to the promotion and expansion of the program's scope in a short time. The couple also donated eight horses for experimental application of stem cell procedures and brought animals to the teaching hospital for therapy. The willingness of the Randalls to allow the school's research team to use novel therapies on naturally occurring injuries has enhanced the translation of regenerative medicine techniques to clinical practice.

A group of 20 faculty members based in the Center for Equine Health promotes research using stem cell technology for the enhancement of bone healing in small animals and horses. Over the past two years, the program has expanded to include potential applications of regenerative medicine in humans. The original areas of research were orthopedic disorders such as bone fractures, tendon and ligament injuries, degenerative joint disease, and developmental bone disease with early experiments on the techniques and safety of stem cell collection, processing and delivery.

The Randalls received their award March 30 from Bennie Osburn, dean of the school, at a luncheon event in Davis.

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