Scientists replaced 80 percent of a ‘butterfly’ boy’s skin | Science News

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Scientists replaced 80 percent of a ‘butterfly’ boy’s skin

Combination of stem cells and gene therapy essentially cures a genetic skin disease

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1:35pm, November 8, 2017
skin

SKIN REPAIR A 7-year-old with a rare genetic condition lost most of the top layer of his skin, the epidermis. Scientists used a combination of stem cells and gene therapy to repair the damage.  

In a last-ditch effort to save a dying 7-year-old boy, scientists have used stem cells and gene therapy to replace about 80 percent of his skin.

This procedure’s success demonstrates that the combination therapy may be effective against some rare genetic skin disorders. The study also sheds light on how the skin replenishes itself, researchers report November 8 in Nature.

In 2015, a boy with a rare genetic skin condition, called junctional epidermolysis bullosa, had lost most of his skin and was close to death. Children with the condition have mutations in one of three genesLAMA3, LAMB3 or LAMC2. Those genes produce parts of the laminin 332 protein, which helps attach the top layer of skin, the epidermis, to deeper layers.

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