Regenerative Medicine

IRAP and PrP – modern day sports medicine therapy

IRAP stands for interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein. Within the body, Interleukin-1 is an inflammatory protein released from the joint surface during trauma. This inflammatory protein speeds up joint injury, inflammation, and cartilage degeneration resulting in joint pain.

IRAP prevents interleukin-1 from binding to its receptors in the joint. This prevents the development and reduces the progression of osteoarthritis. Within the joint, IRAP’s actions are regenerative and anti-inflammatory thereby resulting in pain relief. IRAP has been successful as a post surgical joint therapy, in treating cases of osteoarthritis ranging from mild to severe, treating suspensory injuries and in cases that have not responded well to hyaluronic acid or corticosteroids.

All joints can be treated with IRAP, at KVS we routinely use IRAP for the following joints:

– Stifles
– Hocks
– Fetlocks
– Coffin joints
– Carpal joints

Unlike cortisone, IRAP is prepared from the patient’s own blood so it is natural, safe and effective. Preparation of IRAP is started in the clinic at the time of the patient’s visit. A sample of blood is collected under sterile conditions and mild sedation. It is then incubated for 18-24 hours where the white blood cells produce therapeutic proteins through their physical contact with numerous, small glass beads. It is then centrifuged to separate the plasma from the red blood cells. This plasma is then aliquoted into multiple syringes which can be frozen or used at this time. The collected IRAP is then injected directly into the affected joint or area with or without ultrasound guidance.

Historically IRAP was used for joints and PRP for tendons and ligaments; however, with advances in human sports medicine, PRP is now being shown as effective in joints as well. They can be used interchangeably but IRAP takes longer to process and is administered over a period of three to five appointments where PRP can be processed and injected in the same appointment.

PRP is a regenerative therapy that uses the horse’s own platelets to assist in the healing process of tendon and ligament injuries.  Blood is collected aseptically from the horse and spun in a special centrifuge that concentrates and separates out the platelets.  The PRP is then injected directly into the injured area under ultrasound guidance.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a concentration of growth factors actively secreted by platelets to initiate wound healing. These growth factors attract healthy inflammatory cells to the area of tissue injury and help in the formation of new blood vessels and connective tissue to repair the injured area.

The goal of PRP treatment is to improve the quality of healing. How ? By helping to regenerate the tissue to its original strength and resilience with minimal scarring. PRP is extremely beneficial as traditional therapies for ligament and tendon injuries rarely return a structure to its original function.

PRP is autologous as it is prepared from the patient’s own blood. Preparation of PRP differs from IRAP as it is done in the clinic on the same day of the patient’s visit. A sample of blood is collected under sterile conditions and then processed in a specialized centrifuge to separate the plasma from the red blood cells. This plasma is further concentrated to produce PRP. The collected PRP is then injected directed into the injured area with or without ultrasound guidance.

PRP is used for:

– Ligament injuries
– Tendon injuries
– Joint disease
– Wound healing

PRP has shown remarkable success in treating persistent cases of a wide array of tendon and ligament injuries, such as proximal suspensory desmitis, bowed tendons (superficial flexor tendonitis), and collateral ligament injury.