Friday, November 24, 2017
Using Genetically Modified Grafts on Damaged Skin
Junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB) is a rare genetic condition that prevents the epidermis from attaching to the base underneath. This condition results in fragile skin that is prone to tearing, and results in death after adolescence. This occurs due to a deficiency of the protein laminin-33 and caused by a mutation in one of the three genes. A gene therapy technique using an unaffected area of skin and using a retrovirus to implant the correct DNA sequence in the skin cells was done on a child in Germany with this condition. The cells are then cultured to grow bigger patches of new skin, it is then attached to protein fibrin and grafted onto the body. The longevity and health comes from the presence of living stem cells in the epidermis. The new cells produced become apart of the epidermis from the stem cells that continue to replicate.
This technique seems very helpful for those who live with the rare disease JEB. To be able to use skin that is not affected and using it to correct the DNA sequence in skin cells can maybe give some insight on helping burn victims.