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Bronx man starts first veterinary regenerative stem-cell therapy equipment distributorship

Bronx Times

The Bronx is home to New York City’s first and only distributor of regenerative stem-cell therapy equipment for animals.

Richard Zaiff, a former administrator at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, has been selling the supplies out of his Riverdale home since August. His clients are veterinarians throughout the entire New York City metropolitan area.

Zaiff is the president of MediVet New York, an international company and one of only two that sells the regenerative stem cell equipment in the United States. Zaiff oversees its local distribution.

Regenerative stem cell therapy is used to reduce pain associated with injuries or arthritis in dogs and cats. On average, procedures cost about $2,000.

“It’s so obvious that they’re not in pain anymore,” Zaiff said. “That alone is worth the cost for most people.”

The procedure is done by withdrawing stem cells from the animal, treating the cells using the equipment that Zaiff sells, and then injecting them back in, both to the affected area, and intravenously.

So far no Bronx veterinarians have signed on as a client. But one human ingratiated himself to the borough last summer through a similar procedure - pitcher Bartolo Colon was treated with an infusion of stem cells in 2010, and went on to have a productive year for the Yankees after sitting out the entire previous season.

Zaiff said he thinks that potential customers have been reluctant to embrace the methodology due to the fact it is relatively young.

“They’re all really hard sells, because the technology is so new,” he said. “They just don’t know how to use it yet.”

The regenerative stem-cell therapy procedures have been performed for less than a decade, and have only become common within the past few years.

Zaiff brough two vets on board so far - one in Manhattan and one in Sleepy Hollow.

The regenerative procedures are unrelated to controversial embryonic stem cells, that are drawn from human fetuses.

Zaiff expressed confidence that an increasing numbers of veterinarians will start using regenerative stem-cell therapy.

“We’re at the very beginning of exploring the technology and biology,” he said. “I expect you’ll see some really exciting cures in the not-too-distant future.”

Zaiff, who has an MBA from Columbia, was drawn to the business after his retirement from Einstein in March. He spent 27 years at the school.

“When I was in business school I studied franchising and it appealed to me,” he said. “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you have a template. I didn’t want brick and mortar. I wanted something I could do out of my house. And this was a perfect fit, and it turns out it’s not a franchise. It’s a distributorship.”

Pet owners can go to www.medivet-america.com and click on “vet locator” to find the nearest veterinarian who participates in regenerative stem-cell therapy.

Bill Weisbrod can be reached via e-mail at wweisbrod@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394.

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