Devastating Skin Disease Cured by Italian Stem Cell Scientists

The Most Devastating of all Skin Diseases Cured by Italian Stem Cell Scientists

Friday, November 17, 2017

Author: B. J. Mayou, MB ChB FRCS

This article was published in the New York Times and I find it particulary revolutionary. 

Doctors in Europe have used gene therapy to grow sheets of healthy skin that saved the life of a boy with a genetic disease that's destroyed most of his skin. 

Children with the genetic disease of epidermolysis bullosa suffer chronic sores all over the body and malnutrition. They die at an early age from these sores and skin cancers. Dr Michele De Luca has taken the patients diseased skin, grown it in the laboratory to produce sheets of cultured skin. He then corrects the DNA error to produce sheets of normal skin which are grafted back on to the child, who is then essentially cured.

I have spent a lifetime treating these brave children but my treatment was only temporary, the diseased skin would take over and the patient would still succumb at any early age. This is a miracle for these patients and holds hope for revolutionary treatment for other skin diseases. 

I look forward to seeing how this treatment progresses over time. 

Read the article.

"This was not the first use of the treatment, which adds gene therapy to a technique developed to grow skin grafts for burn victims. But it was by far the most body surface ever covered in a patient with a genetic disorder: nine square feet."  ~ New York Times