Monday, January 10, 2022

80 percent of the skin replaced

After his treatment, the boy was able to do normal work again.
Credit: Catholic Clinic Bochum
New skin from genetically modified stem cells had never been used on such a large area. The patient is stable five years later.

The case is considered unique worldwide: in 2015, a German-Italian team replaced 80 percent of its skin with its genetically modified stem cells for a boy who was then seven years old. He suffered from the life-threatening butterfly disease Epidermolysis bullosa. Those affected have extremely thin skin, which blows, tears and dissolves even with minimal external influences. Around five years later, the skin is stable and has the same sensory qualities as healthy skin. The treatments from the Center for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Módena (Italy) and the Fire Injury Center of the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) report in the magazine New England Journal of Medicine from 9. December 2021.

The skin is stable, the immune system intact

After all conservative and surgical therapy attempts were unsuccessful at the time, the international team, the small patient, succeeded Remove skin, process it genetically and then transplant it to the wound surfaces This method had never been used on such a large skin area.

Now the team of doctors reports on the long-term result. Even five years after the operation, the condition of the transplanted skin remains robust and stable. The boy has recovered well and can take part in age-appropriate social activities. New blisters have not formed on the transplanted skin, the immune system is intact.

A healthy boy

Dr. Tobias Rothoeft, senior physician at the Bochum University Children's Clinic belonging to the Catholic Clinic in Bochum and specialist in thermal injuries, had looked after the boy in the intensive care unit for months and is still in personal contact with the family today. "We are very happy that he is still doing well, that the transplanted skin is stable and that he really has no problems in these areas," he says. “In the meantime, we have also been able to show that the skin that has arisen from genetically modified stem cells has the same sensory qualities as normal, healthy skin. In the transplanted areas, the boy is to be regarded as healthy." Prof. Dr. Thomas Lücke, director of the Bochum University Children's Clinic, speaks of a "great interdisciplinary achievement for the benefit of our little patient".

Source/Credit: Ruhr University Bochum

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